KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A bear ran into a Tennessee restaurant Friday afternoon, according to visitors who witnessed the incident.
An employee at Crawdaddy’s in Gatlinburg confirmed the bear had run up the front staircase and entered the restaurant, but quickly turned around and left.
Kacie Faulling Myers was visiting the area from South Carolina with her family when the bear made an appearance as they were walking outside.
“Can you imagine sitting in the restaurant and a bear coming out?” she asked as she took a video from across the street.
Visitors can be seen running toward the restaurant with their cell phones out.
Faulling Myers snapped photos from across the street which showed the bear wandering along the sidewalk, not far from a crowd of people. The bear even looks up at a man standing only feet away beside a trash can.
The Crawdaddy’s employee said the bear knocked someone over outside, though information on the person’s condition is unclear. An ambulance was called to the area, according to Gatlinburg Police.
Bear sightings in the Gatlinburg area are not uncommon. In March, a man visiting Gatlinburg took this video of a bear lounging in his hot tub. In May, bears were spotted scavenging trash cans at a gas station.
At the time, officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency had reminded people that Gatlinburg is part of the bears’ natural habitat and roaming area. The agency encouraged people to stay “bear aware.” On its website, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency also shares plenty of guidelines and general “things to know” for locals and visitors about keeping safe in the bears’ habitats.
The Southeast is home to some 72,000 black bears, according to BearWise. More information on bears, and how to stay safe, can be found at the BearWise program page.