Bear attacks teenager while he was watching videos in Arizona cabin

<span>A black bear.</span><span>Photograph: Roger Simmons/Orlando Sentinel via Getty Images</span>
A black bear.Photograph: Roger Simmons/Orlando Sentinel via Getty Images

A three-year old black male bear was “dispatched” after bursting into a family’s cabin in Alpine, Arizona, and taking a swipe at a 15-year-old boy who was alone inside watching YouTube videos.

The incident marks the 16th bear attack on people in Arizona since 1990. Only two of the attacks were fatal; in this case the bear’s body has been taken for examination, including to be tested for rabies.

Last year, a 66-year-old man was killed by a 360lb bear, estimated to be seven to 10 years old, while drinking coffee outside his cabin near Prescott, Arizona.

The bear began eating him before dragging him down an embankment. Examiner’s later said the animal was rabies-free, had a good amount of body fat and appeared nutritionally in good shape.

In the latest incident, the young bear attacked Brigham Hawkins at his family cabin near Blue River Road in Alpine. “Never in our wildest dreams did we think (a bear) would come in the home,” his mom, Carol, told AZ Family.

Mrs Hawkins told the website the bear came in through an open door. Her son, she said, “hadn’t realized it because it came in from behind, and it reached over and like swiped at his face twice. Got him on the nose and the cheek and then went ahead and got his forehead and the top of his head.”

She also also explained that her son can’t move quickly because has a neurological disorder. The bear left the cabin for a short time but came back inside a second time to strike the boy on the arm before his brother helped chase the bear away, KCTV reported.

The boy is being treated at a local hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

Arizona game and fish department supervisor Shawn Wagner told KCTV that the quick reaction by the boy’s family “to distract the bear from what very easily in a matter of seconds could have turned into a real tragedy there”.

The agency reminds those visiting or living in bear country to be “bear aware” and recommend securing food and other “attractants”, to avoid leaving food in a tent or grill, and camping away from bodies of water. It also suggests setting up campsites away from places bears might forage for food, such as bodies of water, and avoid wearing scented lotions, deodorants, or perfume.

But officials advised against running away but to back away slowly, keep eye contact with the bear, make yourself bigger by flaunting your arms or by pulling your shirt/jacket higher than your head.

It’s also advised to throw items, yell at the bear, and fight back if attacked.

Both Arizona and national parks officials say to not to eat or cook in your tent. But Arizona’s Wagner noted that “having an attack is extremely rare”.