Woman injured during Fall City cougar attack

60-year-old cyclist suffered injuries to her face, neck and jaw.

At about 12:30 p.m. Feb. 17, a group of five cyclists were attacked by a 75-pound young male cougar in Fall City.

The group was able to fight back and pin the cougar under a bike until Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) services arrived. One of the five cyclists — a 60-year-old woman — suffered injuries to her face, neck and jaw after the cougar “latched onto” her, according to a WDFW official.

Upon their arrival at the scene Saturday on the trail along Tokul Creek, WDFW officers euthanized the cougar. The 60-year-old woman was taken to Harborview Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries and has not been released yet, as of press time.

The names of the five cyclists have not been released.

“We are thankful that the victim is stable after the incident this weekend,” said WDFW Lieutenant Erik Olson. “The people on scene took immediate action to render aid, and one of our officers was able to arrive within minutes to continue medical aid and coordinate transport. We may have had a very different outcome without their heroic efforts.”

Cougar attacks on humans are rare in Washington, with two fatal cougar attacks and around 20 total human-cougar encounters resulting in human injury in the last 100 years, according to the WDFW.

One of those fatalities occurred six years ago on May 19, 2018, when 32-year-old S.J. Brooks was attacked and killed by a cougar north of Snoqualmie.

WDFW officers advise those who encounter a cougar to stand their ground, make themselves appear larger than the cougar and maintain eye contact. If the cougar doesn’t flee, the agency advises people to shout, wave their arms or throw anything they have at the cougar to convince them they are not prey, but potential danger.

WDFW advises people to fight back or use bear spray if a cougar attacks.

The young male cougar responsible for the recent attack will be sent to Washington State University for examination. The university will release information on the age and body condition of the cougar as well as if there was any presence of disease, once the examination is complete.