(WARM SPRINGS, Oregan) — A motorcyclist died on Saturday after crashing into a bear in Oregon.
Rhett Larson, who worked as a firefighter in Bend, Oregon, was killed when he hit the bear and fell off his motorcycle, police told Oregon ABC affiliate KATU. Larson was then stuck by an oncoming SUV on Highway 26 near Warm Springs.
Larson was returning from Portland at the time of the accident, Oregon State Police said.
Police said the driver of the SUV needed to be airlifted to the hospital, but KATU said there was no update on their condition.
The bear was also killed in the accident.
The 39-year-old Larson started working for the Bend Fire Department in 2002, according to KATU.
“Rhett was not only an exceptional firefighter, he was a loyal friend, respected mentor, and loving father,” the Bend Fire Department said in a statement. “The loss of such a fun-loving, energetic soul is felt deeply by both our department and our community.”
Warm Springs is an extremely rural part of Oregon that’s part of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. It’s about two hours east of Portland and an hour north of Bend.
According to the wildlife nonprofit Oregon Wild, there are about 25,000 to 30,000 black bears in the state of Oregon. Black bears can weigh up to 500 pounds, though an average male is 200 to 250 pounds.
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