Tense Video Captures Close Encounter Between Black Bear with Cubs and Mountain Coaster Rider

A ride on a mountain coaster turned into a close encounter with a family of bears for one tourist visiting the Smokey Mountains.

TikTok user @ricktock69 shared a video of one man's ride through the woods of Anakeesta Theme Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on Sunday. The park visitor was cruising on the Rail Runner mountain coaster when a black bear and two cubs emerged from the brush and approached the tracks.

The Rail Runner allows rider to control the sled's speed, so the rider was able to slow down once he spotted the bears.

While onlookers are heard claiming they "would be freaking out" if they were that close to a bear and cubs, the rider appeared to remain calm as the ride creeks along the tracks nearing the bears. Luckily, the mother bear notices him and crosses the Rail Runner tracks and her two cubs follow after her, allowing the tourist to finish his ride in peace.

It's not uncommon for Anakeesta visitors to spot black bears on the park grounds considering its location within the Smoky Mountains, where more than 1,500 black bears roam freely in their natural habitats. However, encounters that close are incredibly rare.

A few hundred miles away in Virginia, one woman experienced an even closer encounter in July. Regina Keller snapped a photograph of a huge black bear taking a nap in a kiddie pool in her backyard near the George Washington National Forest in Fort Valley.

Since she lives in a particularly remote area, she's used to forest animals like foxes, squirrels, deer and bears. However, she never imagined seeing a male black bear of such large size snoozing in her pool. Keller was watering flowers when she first noticed the bear and she immediately pulled out her camera to take a picture.

"It was the biggest one I've seen this year," Keller told CNN at the time.

Only adding to the thrilling moment, Keller said that she recognized the bear, noting that he visited her backyard two years ago.

"He wandered around the backyard...and went over by the pool and dipped his big paw in the water...and then climbed right in and laid down. He seemed so content and refreshed."

She added: "It was neat to see and neat that I had my camera with me to capture it."

Keller said she watched the bear from a chair near her door as he continued to nap for nearly an hour. He was eventually woken by the sound of her grandchildren and their dogs, leading him to run away.

Video Captures Rider's Encounter With Bears
A black bear rest in a mixed age forest that partially burned in 1988 on June 30, 2018, in Yellowstone National Park, WY. The fires in 1988 burned 793,800 acres, 39% of Yellowstone's 2.2 million acres. William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images