2 women killed after bears escape in northern Japan park

Story highlights

  • Two employees at a private park are killed by bears
  • The bears escaped their enclosure, possibly using piled snow to climb out
  • The escaped bears were killed by hunters, a fire official says

Two female employees were found mauled to death Friday after six bears escaped their enclosure at a park in northern Japan, a local fire official told CNN.

The bodies of the women, 69 and 75, were recovered after a group of local hunters "killed all of the bears," said Inoru Ogasawara, control officer for the Kazuno Fire Department.

A third park employee called police after escaping the attack.

Roadblocks were set up around the mountainous community in Akita prefecture as authorities appealed to residents and children to stay indoors.

The privately owned bear park held 33 bears and is open to the public during summer. It was closed to the public when the bears escaped.

Police are questioning park officials about security at the facility, and talking to the park owner about how the bears escaped.

It was not immediately clear if the women were feeding the bears at that time of the attack. NHK, Japan's public broadcast network, reported that snow had accumulated overnight and was high enough near the iron bars that separate the bears from humans to allow the bears to climb out.