57-year-old Jim Cole, who has published books on the lives of grizzly bears in Montana, Wyoming and Alaska, was hiking alone along Trout Creek in Yellowstone National Park when the incident happened. After being attacked by a sow with a cub, Cole walked three miles until he was discovered by visitors, and was then flown to Idaho where he underwent several hours of surgery to repair his face.
Longtime friend Rich Berman said Cole was unable to speak and was breathing through a ventilator and being fed through a tube. "He's lucky to be alive," Berman said.
Cole was hiking alone off-trail in a backcountry area of Yellowstone which is prime grizzly habitat. He was carrying bear pepper spray, but it is not yet known if he used the spray on the sow. The incident remains under investigation.
The park service stated that these kind of incidents are rare and that there hasn't been a human fatality since 1986.