Four people were attacked by a bear on Monday in a residential area in Akita, northeastern Japan, with the whereabouts of the animal currently unknown, local authorities said.

The extent of injuries suffered by the male and female victims, aged from their 60s to 80s, is unclear, but all could hold conversations when they were rushed to hospital following the incident that occurred shortly after 9 a.m.

One of the five people initially reported to have been attacked, a man in his 80s, instead sustained injuries when he tripped while fleeing the scene.

Akita Prefecture has seen a higher-than-usual number of bear sightings this year, with police saying a record 30 people have been injured in attacks.

Also on Monday, an 84-year-old man in Kanazawa and a 79-year-old woman in Toyama, both in central Japan, were attacked by bears, with both suffering non-life-threatening injuries.

Photo shows an area in Akita, northeastern Japan, where several people were attacked by a bear on Oct. 9, 2023. (Kyodo)

Related coverage:

FEATURE:Rampant Yezo deer causing farm damage,traffic accidents in Hokkaido

Woman in Japan dies of Oz virus in world 1st, possibly tick-borne