Cougar kills man, injures another near North Bend

UPDATE: 5:03 p.m.:

The 31-year-old victim at Harborview has been upgraded to satisfactory condition.

UPDATE: 4:08 p.m.:

One man was killed and another injured in a mountain lion attack near North Bend on Saturday, the King County Sheriff's Office reported.

The injured victim, 31, was transported to Harborview Medical Center's emergency department in Seattle.

"He is currently awake and alert and in serious condition," the hospital tweeted at 2:26 p.m. The man was upgraded to satisfactory condition just before 5 p.m. Saturday.

The two men were mountain biking when they were attacked before noon, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Responders found the cougar standing over the body of the man killed, KIRO 7 reported. Officers with the state department of Fish and Wildlife tracked the cougar.

Shortly after 4 p.m., the Sheriff's Office reported that the cougar believed to be responsible for the attack had been killed by Fish and Wildlife personnel.

KOMO is reported the attack took place on Tolt Reservoir Road which is north of North Bend and east of Carnation.

Cougar attacks against people, and especially those resulting in fatalities, are extremely rare.

According to several sources, the last fatal cougar attack in the United States occurred in 2008 in New Mexico.

In Washington, a 5-year-old boy was attacked in 2009 while hiking with his family in Stevens County.

The last fatal attack in Washington apparently occurred in 1924 in Olema, near Omak, when Jimmy Fehlhaber, 13, was killed.

The Fish and Wildlife department maintains a map of cougar incidents for the preceding year.

Mountain lion attacks on bikers are not new. In 2004, mountain biker Mark Jeffrey Reynolds' half-eaten body was found in a Mission Viejo, Calif. wilderness park, the same day biker Anne Hjelle was attacked in the same park by a cougar.

The cat sprang from the brush, pounced on Hjelle's back and dragged her off by the head. As others threw rocks at the cougar, a friend of Hjelle's engaged in a tug of war with the cat until it finally gave up.

Severely injured, Hjelle survived the encounter and wrote a book about the ordeal.

Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541, @crsailor