‘He said that the bear kept coming back every night and he hadn’t slept in a few days,’ US Coast Guard pilot says
A Coast Guard pilot immediately knew something was wrong when he spotted an SOS sign on top of a shack, and a man desperately trying to get his attention by waving his hands in the air.
Upon landing at the remote mining camp near Nome, Alaska, the man explained he had been attacked by a grizzly bear and spent the past few sleepless days and nights warding off repeat visits from the wild animal.
The man relayed an extreme tale of survival to his rescuers that bore comparisons to the Academy Award-winning 2015 film The Revenant, in which Leonardo DiCaprio fights with a bear.
The unidentified man, in his 50s or 60s, told the US Coast Guard that he’d arrived in the camp on 12 July.
Some days later, near the mining camp, he encountered the grizzly, who dragged him to a nearby river.
He managed to escape the bear’s clutches, sustaining non-life-threatening injuries to his leg and chest, and found his way back to a hut at the camp where he treated his wounds.
Over the following week, the bear came back time and again, apparently ripping the door of the hut from its hinges.
“He said that the bear kept coming back every night and he hadn’t slept in a few days,” Lieutenant Commander Jared Carbajal, one of the pilots of the Coast Guard helicopter, told The New York Times.
On Friday, a US Coast Guard helicopter crew based in Kodiak had been on its way to a mission when it changed course to avoid a patch of bad weather.
It was then that they noticed the man come stumbling out of the shack waving with two hands, in a clear state of distress.
“He definitely looked like he had been out there for a while,” co-pilot Lieutenant Junior Grade A.J. Hammac told The Times.
The man was sleep-deprived from his ordeal and had just two rounds of ammunition left in his pistol.
The Coast Guard helicopter transported him to Nome, where the man insisted on walking to the waiting ambulance.
“You could tell he was starting to come off of the adrenaline, I think, and started to realise what happened,” Carbajal told The Times.
The Coast Guard said the incident served as a timely reminder for anyone heading into the wilderness to always carry an emergency beacon or satellite phone with them.