Mountain lion kills 1 person, injures another in Washington

Posted at 9:13 PM, May 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-20 23:13:15-04

NORTH BEND, Wash. — Authorities say one person was killed and another injured in a cougar attack in North Bend, Washington, CBS affiliate KIRO-TV reports. The two victims were mountain biking in the area when the incident took place around 11:20 a.m. Saturday, officials said.

First responders said they found the deceased victim with the cougar still standing over the body. As wildlife officials approached them, the cougar ran from the scene, a King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson tells CBS News.

The mountain lion ran into the woods and officers with the Washington Department of Fish and Game later tracked it down and shot and killed it, said Capt. Alan Myers of the state’s Fish & Wildlife Police.

The 31-year-old man who survived the mauling is awake and alert, but is in satisfactory condition.

Fish and Wildlife officials eventually shot and killed the cat. They said there was no indication the men taunted the animal in any way before it attacked. Authorities will perform a necropsy on the cougar in an attempt to find out why its behavior was aggressive.

"He said he had his whole entire head in the jaw of this animal and was being shaken around," said Fish and Wildlife officer Allen Meyers, but the 31-year-old man managed to escape.

"At some point, one of the victims even swung their bike toward the animal as it approached and that caused it to run off in the woods. The two victims took a minute and were catching their breath about this amazing, incredible event," Meyers said.

But then the mountain lion returned, chasing down and killing the second bicyclist.

This is the first time in nearly a century a mountain lion killed someone in Washington state. A 13-year-old boy was killed in an attack in 1924.

While Washington controls its big cat population, they are a protected species and it’s estimated more than 2,000 of them are free to roam statewide.

"The fact that it stayed in close proximity of these folks and attacked and stayed with them is highly, highly unusual," Meyers said.

  • CBS News’ Meg Oliver contributed to this report.