08/28/2012 04:21 EDT | Updated 10/28/2012 05:12 EDT

Grizzly Attacks UBC Student Prospecting In Alaska

A UBC student is recovering in hospital in Alaska after she was attacked by a grizzly bear while prospecting in the wilderness on Sunday.

Julia Stafford, 20, and a colleague were collecting rock samples in a foggy ravine near Tangle Lakes when the bear emerged from the mist with two cubs, she told CBC News from her hospital bed in Fairbanks.

"We decided we'd walk uphill to get away from it, and then the bear saw us and started walking towards us and then started running towards us," she said.

The pair had bear spray in their backpacks but had no chance to get it out before the bear charged and was on top of them. The pair then tried to play dead, but the sow attacked Stafford.

"She bit my hand and dragged me 20 feet and then let go," said Stafford, who said she did think for a moment that she might die before the attack ended.

The former Seattle resident is being treated for the bite to her hand and scratches on her back, but still plans to start her third year of geology studies at UBC this September. She was working for Pure Nickel Inc., a Canadian company based in Ontario.

The attack came just two days after a lone hiker in Denali National Park was eaten by a grizzly bear, the first fatal bear mauling in the park’s 95-year history.

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