Paratrooper mauled to death by bear during military training

Sgt Seth Michael Plant was attacked in Alaska by what is believed to be a brown bear, while another soldier was injured

Staff Sgt Seth Michael Plant was pronounced dead in hospital after being mauled by a bear during a military exercise

A paratrooper in the US Army was mauled to death by a bear during military training in Alaska. 

Sgt Seth Michael Plant, 30, was attacked by what is believed to be a brown bear on Tuesday in a training area in Anchorage. 

The infantryman from the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, was later pronounced dead at a hospital on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Another soldier received minor injuries in the attack, which is now being investigated by the US army.

Sgt Plant was from Saint Augustine, Florida, and had been at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson since July 2021.

Sgt Plant was from Saint Augustine, Florida, and had been at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson since July 2021

Lt. Col. David J. Nelson, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment commander, said Plant "always had a smile on his face, he always went above and beyond what was asked of him, and he served as an inspiration to all who had the privilege to know him."

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game said a den with two brown bear cubs was found nearby. Following the attack, it added, a bear approached the area and officials sprayed it with bear deterrent, before it eventually left.

Hair collected during an initial investigation into the attack was consistent with a brown bear, the department said.

'Female bear protecting her cubs'

Cyndi Wardlow, a regional supervisor with the department, explained that information gathered so far suggests this was a "defensive attack by a female bear protecting her cubs."

"We are trying to learn everything we can about what happened to increase public safety around wildlife in Alaska," she said in a statement.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game believe the attack was by a female brown bear protecting her cubs Credit: Image by David G Hemmings

The department has the power to kill bears that are considered public safety threats or that are involved in deadly attacks.

The location of the bear that was involved in the attack on Tuesday was unknown, but game cameras placed by the department during its investigation indicated that an adult bear had returned to the area and left the den site with the cubs.