1 man dead, another hospitalized after cougar mauls mountain bikers on trail in Washington state

NORTH BEND. Wash. -- One man is dead and another injured after being mauled by a mountain lion in Washington state.

KCPQ reported that it happened Saturday morning as the men were riding mountain bikes through a wooded area in North Bend.

The bicyclists stopped, made noise and one of them swung the bike at the animal, temporarily scaring it off, according to Captain Alan Myers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Myers said as the two men were collecting themselves and getting ready to leave when the cougar returned and pounced on one man.

“At one point, that victim reported his whole head was inside the jaws of that cougar and has injuries to go along with that report,” said Myers.

That victim, a 31-year-old man from New York City, was airlifted to a hospital and was in satisfactory condition Saturday night.

Officials said the injured man said his friend ran into the woods while he was getting attacked.

That’s when the cougar let go of him, chasing the friend who was later found dead.

That man has not been identified, but was a 32-year-old man from Seattle, according to the King County Sheriff's Office.

Myers said two friends were biking through a wooded area on private property, where a permit is required for recreational activities.

He said the wooded habitat in the area is prime for wildlife like bears, cougars, deer and foxes.

“It’s extremely rare, the second fatality of a cougar in Washington state in 100 years,” said Myers.

Officials hope to determine whether the animal had a disease or other medical reason to attack the human.