Mountain biker screamed as he was mauled to death by cougar who dragged him into its den and clamped its jaws around his friend’s head
SJ Brooks, 32, was killed on Saturday morning during a bike ride with pal Isaac Sederbaum, 31, on a remote trail near North Bend, outside of Seattle, Washington.
Sederbaum, who has serious but non-life threatening wounds, survived the attack despite his head being trapped inside the hungry big cat’s jaws at one point.
When the pair were first confronted by the cougar, they got off their bikes and managed to scare the animal away – by making noise and even hitting it with their bicycle wheels.
But the cougar, which is also known as a mountain lion or puma and inhabits mountainous regions of the US west coast, eventually returned and launched a terrifying attack.
Sederbaum told KOMO that when his entire head was in the animal’s mouth, Brooks ran away prompting the predator to relinquish its hold and chase after his friend.
The Seattle-native then rode his bike two miles out of the area in an attempt to find a signal before dialling 911 at around 11am local time.
Sederbaum, who had deep wounds from being clawed, said: "Can you hear me? Help!" before the line went dead.
He survived the attack and was taken to Harborview Medical Centre with serious injuries.
Police drove up the trail and found the victim's abandoned bike before entering the woods to continue the search.
Authorities found the cougar standing over the body of Brooks later that day.
Sargent Ryan Abbott said: “The cougar had actually dragged the victim back to the wood line and he was found dead there.”
While the mountain lion managed to run away, investigators were eventually able to track it down and kill it at 4pm local time.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police Capt Alan Myers said the three-year-old male animal weighed around 100 pounds which is between 40 and 80 pounds underweight.
The animal’s brain will now be examined to discover whether it was sick at the time of the attack.
Brooks was a cycling enthusiast who co-founded Friends on Bikes Seattle to create a community where women/trans/femme/non-binary people of colour could fun on bikes.
In October 2017, Brooks said: “Certain cultures and certain genders aren't associated with bicycling even though all those people do bicycle.”
According to their LinkedIn, Brooks was the director of operations at Hillman City Collaboratory in Seattle and was a research assistant at William James College in Boston, Massachusetts.
While in Boston, Brooks was a manager at Boston Centre for the Arts and also worked as a bicycle mechanic.
The academic received a doctorate in philosophy at Boston University in 2016.
Footage of a cougar prowling the scene of the attack was filmed by wildlife enthusiast Steve Mickel a few weeks go.
However, it is not known if that mountain lion was the same animal which killed Brooks.
Fatal cougar attacks are extremely rare in North America. Only around two dozen have been recorded in the last 100 years and most involve children according to Abbott.
Cougars are the fourth largest cat species in the world, with adult males weighing up to 100kgs.
Their method of attack is usually ambush, but they tend to only attack humans when cornered.
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