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Watch frightened tourists leap out of the way as bear runs through downtown Gatlinburg

Tourists jump out of the way as black bear dashes past crowds in Tennessee

A black bear runs through downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee and just keeps going.
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A black bear runs through downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee and just keeps going.

Amanda Nicole Adams "was freaking out!" when a black bear suddenly darted onto a busy downtown Gatlinburg, Tenn., sidewalk and street at dusk last Thursday, the tourist from Mississippi posted on Facebook.

Adams, however, maintained her composure enough to get video of the bear as it dashed away from her and across the street.

Tourists are seen running for safety into a store across the street from Adams as the bear darts toward them. Tourists on Adams' side of the street cling to each other in fear as they walk hurriedly away from the bear.

Adams' video has gone viral, with 4.1 million views and 73,500 shares by Tuesday afternoon.

"I just had a heart attack y’all," Adams posted with her video. "A bear was running around gatlinburg!"

"That is crazy!!" a woman posted on Facebook in reaction to the video.

"Right!" Adams replied." I was freaking out! But it was so cool to see. I didn’t think I’d actually see one!"

Another woman on Facebook mentions a man who runs into the street to block traffic so the bear doesn't get hit. "Blocking traffic so the sweet bear does not get hit by a car - nice..." the woman posted.

Adams told the Observer on Tuesday that she is 23 years old and from Olive Branch, Mississippi.

"I had no idea my video would reach so many people," Adams told the Observer. "I honestly only made the post shareable for my boyfriend and mother to share. I never expected other people to share it, or even watch! It is so crazy and unexpected, but I am thrilled it has reached so many people."

Black bear sightings are common in the mountains this time of year.

On Tuesday, for instance, Pisgah National Forest rangers warned visitors to Bent Creek Experimental Forest near Asheville, North Carolina, and Black Balsam about increased reports of bears.

"This time of the year, black bears are opportunistically looking for food that campers and trail users bring on their trips," the Pisgah National Forest officials said in a safety alert.

"While black bear attacks on people are rare, such attacks have resulted in human fatalities."

To avoid bear attacks, officials recommend you:

Keep your dog on a leash where bears are reported.

If you notice a bear nearby, pack up your food and trash immediately and leaving the area as soon as possible

If a bear approaches, move away slowly; do not run. Get into a vehicle or a secure building.

If necessary, try to scare the animal away with loud shouts, by banging pans together, or throwing rocks and sticks at it.

Try to fight back using any object available if attacked.

Act aggressively and intimidate the bear by yelling and waving your arms. Playing dead is not recommended.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067; @jmarusak
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