A bear mauled two people to death and critically injured at least five others during an attack this morning in the Transylvanian city of Brasov in central Romania.
The victims were picking mushrooms in a forest on the outskirts of the city when they were attacked by the bear, said Police Inspector Nicu Edmond. The bear also attacked an ambulance that rushed to the scene, trying to break open its door before running into the forest, he said.
Two people were pronounced dead on the scene, and at least five others were injured, Edmond said.
Nicolae Buvnariu, a surgeon at the County Hospital in Brasov, said five people were in critical condition and that others injured in the mauling attack were continuing to arrive at the hospital.
Brasov Mayor George Scripcaru declared a state of emergency in the city of 300,000, located about 110 miles north-west of Bucharest.
The entire police force of the city, local hunters and workers from the city’s animal control services were mobilised to try to capture or kill the bear.
Scripcaru ordered the forces “to do whatever needs to be done” to stop the bear, and urged residents to stay inside until the bear is caught.
Bears often come into the city, which is surrounded by large forested areas in the Carpathian Mountains, but attacks have been rare. Local officials say this is the worst incident involving bears in Romania in many years.
Romania has thousands of brown bears living in the wild. It is illegal to hunt them without a permit.