Tourists JAILED over reckless act caught on webcam

·2-min read

Three tourists have been sentenced to prison for wandering off a national park walking trail and going into a river to get a closer look at the wildlife and take some selfies.

David Engelman, 56, Ronald Engelman II, 54, and Steven Thomas, 30, all pleaded guilty to leaving the viewing platform at Brooks Falls in Alaska's Katmai National Park and wading into the river.

At the time of the incident, which happened in 2018, brown bears were feeding in the river.

A live stream camera captured David going knee-deep into the water and taking selfies with the animals which aren't known for being friendly.

Three men went off the path at a national park in Alaska and into the water where bears were feeding. Source: Youtube
Three men went off the path at a national park in Alaska and into the water where bears were feeding. Source: Youtube

“These individuals behaved carelessly and put themselves at great risk," the superintendent of Katmai National Park and Preserve Mark Sturm said.

"Brown bears are fierce, territorial predators, especially when concentrated in order to feed on migrating salmon.

“Things could have easily ended very badly.”

Attorney S. Lane Tucker in a release said the three men not only endangered themselves, other visitors and wildlife officers, but also potentially the life of the bears.

As a result of the incident, all three men were ordered to serve time in jail and cough up thousands in fines.

Both David and Ronald each received a sentence of one week in prison, one year of probation and a fine of $3000 ($A4200). Steven Thomas will be in prison for 10 days and also be on probation for a year and pay $3000.

All three men are prohibited from entering any national park for one year.

Each of the three men will serve time in prison and pay thousands in fines. Source: YouTube
Each of the three men will serve time in prison and pay thousands in fines. Source: YouTube

When imposing the sentences, Magistrate Judge Scoble took into consideration the prospect of tourists being deterred and the impact of tourism at the national park if someone had been injured, or a bear being killed if one of the men were injured.

People who witnessed the actions of the three men reportedly said the stunt ruined their experience at Katmai National Park.

The men's actions were characterised as "drunken capering, and a slap in the face to those who were there" by the judge.

The $9000 in fines will be given to Katmai Conservancy.

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