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Cougar attacks five cyclists in US, police praise riders for pinning animal down in reaction that "100% saved their friend's life"

The incident happened on Saturday afternoon in Washington state and left one woman hospitalised, the group using a bike to pin the cougar down before the authorities arrived

A group of five mountain bikers survived a cougar attack on a trail in Washington state on Saturday, one woman hospitalised with "non-life-threatening injuries" and the animal shot dead by officers after the cyclists managed to subdue the animal and pin it to the ground using their bikes.

The extraordinary incident unfolded at around 12.50pm local time (20.50 GMT) on Saturday on a private timber trail along Tokul Creek, to the north east of Fall City in the most north western US state.

A 60-year-old woman suffered serious injuries to her face, neck and jaw, but they were later described as non-life-threatening and her condition stable. 

Washington State Fish and Wildlife received a report of the attack at 12.48pm and attended the scene where they found the cyclists had managed to stop the attack and had pinned the cougar to the ground using their bikes.

"Fish and Wildlife officers removed one subadult cougar on arrival at the scene. Eyewitness accounts indicated there may be a second cougar. WDFW Police enlisted the help of a houndsman the afternoon of Feb. 17 and did not find a second cougar near the scene," a statement explained and it was confirmed that a state Fish and Wildlife officer shot the animal.

"Fish and Wildlife personnel removed one subadult cougar at the scene, it is presumed to be older than six months however an accurate age will be determined by officials once tooth data is taken from the cougar," Becky Elder, a spokesperson for the department said in a statement provided to CNN.

"The public's safety is our priority, generally during a human-wildlife incident we lethally remove the animal involved."

Californian cyclist has stand off with mountain lion (credit - Rex Hatter)

> "I saw this cat run towards me": Californian mountain biker survives stand-off with cougar (includes video)

She stressed that attacks are "extremely rare" and continued: "In Washington state, there have been two fatal cougar attacks and approximately 20 other recorded encounters that resulted in human injury in the last 100 years.

"They did everything right in fending off the cougar. So thankful obviously that the victim is receiving medical care. And wishing her a speedy recovery."

One such previous attack, in 2018, saw cyclist S.J. Brooks killed while mountain biking near Snoqualmie. The 32-year-old was riding the trails with a friend at the time of the attack, the second cyclist requiring surgery having suffered severe lacerations and bites to the head neck and face.

Officials later tracked down the animal involved, a male aged three or four years and weighing 100 pounds (45kg), and shot it dead. When officers arrived it was found standing over the body of the dead cyclist.

A police official said the pair realised they were being chased "so they stopped and they made a lot of noise, which is exactly what we counsel people to do".

"The two victims then took a minute and were catching their breath about this amazing, incredibly scary event that just occurred and suddenly the victim who's now in Harborview [hospital] was attacked again by this cougar. It latched onto his head," they said.

The animal then pursued the other man, who was trying to escape by running into the woods.

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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Geoff Ingram | 1 month ago

Fortunately or not I appear to be too mature myself to attract the interest of cougars.

Paul J | 1 month ago

Given my own 5kg cats - slightly wilder than the average house cat - can do a bit of damage if they want, I'd really hate to meet a 10x bigger one!

chrisonabike replied to Paul J | 1 month ago

Litter tray doesn't bear thinking about.

Boopop | 1 month ago

EDIT: Nevermind.

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