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Minnesotan man mauled by grizzly bear while hiking in Wyoming

The 48-year-old from Plymouth suffered severe injuries.
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A Plymouth man was severely injured when he was mauled by a grizzly bear while hiking near Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

Bradley Johnson, 48, was backpacking with three friends on Sunday afternoon when he was attacked by the bear, suffering injuries to his arm, shoulder and back, the Park County Sheriff's Office said.

They were in the Beartooth Mountains at the time, near the Wyoming-Montana border, and according to Wyoming Game and Fish Department it happened when he came upon two bears "at close range."

"The encounter happened too suddenly for him to deploy the bear spray he was carrying," the department said.

Two of his friends hiked out to the Top of the World resort, about six miles from the northeast entrance to Yellowstone, and called for help. The third friend, 45-year-old Justin Reed, of Medina, Minnesota, stayed with him.

Park County Search and Rescue was on another call at the time, rescuing a hiker who had a boulder fall on him, but was able to send up a search plane to find Johnson's location, while a rescue helicopter was scrambled from Billings, just across the border in Montana.

The only suitable landing spot for the chopper was about a mile away from Johnson, so medics had to hike in to stabilize him and carry him to the helicopter.

He was flown to St. Vincent's Hospital in Billings, where his condition is unknown at this time.

Because there wasn't enough space in the helicopter, Reed had to stay behind. And because dark was approaching he feared he'd become disoriented if he tried to find his way back from the hiking trail, a rescue team was sent to guide him out.

The team went to deployed at 7 p.m., and they managed to reach the trailhead with Reed about seven hours later, at 2:15 a.m.

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