British Columbia

Witnesses describe desperate attempt to free 10-year-old from bear attack

"It pulled her into the bush and was trying to pull her further and people were whacking its head and eventually it let go but tried to bite again," said bystander Daniel Joplin about a black bear attack in Coquitlam on Saturday, August 13, 2016.

Victim taken to hospital with critical injuries now in serious condition

Conservation officers tranquilized this black bear cub on Saturday, August 13, 2016 after its mother attacked a 10-year-old girl. The cub will go to a rehabilitation centre and be released into the wild in 2017. (Bill Cook)

Conservation officers say they have taken a black bear cub involved in an attack on a 10-year-old girl in Coquitlam to a rehabilitation centre.

Officers killed its mother on Saturday after the animal bit and dragged the victim near a popular hiking trail at Shaughnessy Street and Lincoln Avenue where the trail along the Coquitlam River leads to a wilderness area.

Meanwhile witnesses described a desperate fight to try and save the victim.

Daniel Joplin says bystanders who witnessed the bear attack rushed to try and free the victim by hitting the animal. (Bill Cook)

"I heard shouting and yelling and I ran out with some other people and saw the bear dragging her across the trail there into the woods and then people rushed it and attacked it," said Daniel Joplin.

"It pulled her into the bush and was trying to pull her further and people were whacking its head and eventually it let go but tried to bite again."

The girl was eventually rescued and taken to hospital with critical injuries. Her condition on Sunday was described as serious.

Conservation office inspector Murray Smith says the attack that happened on Saturday, August 13, 2016 in Coquitlam is extremely rare. (CBC)

"It was a very unfortunate situation where two people encountered a mother bear with her cub and you know there was an attack and so just extremely bad luck," said Murray Smith, a Conservation office inspector.

He said that the service has determined that the two bears had not gotten into garbage at the site, so the cub can be rehabilitated and released into the wild, most likely, next spring.

The mother, though, was killed because the animal would not leave the area despite several humans being around.

Now investigators are hoping the girl and her family can help provide details into the investigation into what happened.

Trash found off the trail near the Coquitlam River where a 10-year-old girl was attacked by a mother black bear on August 13, 2016. (CBC)

Meanwhile politicians in the area are reminding people to not leave garbage or bear attractants like fruit lying around otherwise they could face stiff fines.

"We just really want to get the message out that we can live amongst bears in our community safe and respectfully," said Teri Towner, the acting mayor of Coquitlam.