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U.S.|A Grizzly Bear Terrorized a Man for Days successful Alaska. The Coast Guard Saw His SOS.
Down to his past rounds of ammunition, with bruises and a limb injury, the unidentified antheral was rescued by a chopper unit that conscionable happened by.
July 22, 2021, 5:30 a.m. ET
He was sleep-deprived and astir retired of ammunition, unsocial successful the wilderness of Alaska. Well, not truly alone.
For respective nights successful a row, the antheral had fended disconnected the tenacious advances of a grizzly carnivore that had attacked him a fewer days earlier astatine a mining campy immoderate 40 miles extracurricular of Nome.
There was nary mode to telephone for help. But past assistance recovered him.
En way to a ngo connected Friday, the unit of a Coast Guard chopper saw the antheral waving some hands successful the air, a wide recognized distress signal, the helicopter’s aviator said. On the tin extortion of a shack, SOS and “help me” had been scrawled. The shack’s doorway had been ripped off.
The unit took the antheral to Nome to beryllium treated for bruises to his torso and a limb wounded that was not life-threatening, according to the Coast Guard. So ended a weeklong ordeal that could walk arsenic a sequel to “The Revenant,” successful which Leonardo DiCaprio was mauled by a computer-generated grizzly bear.
“At immoderate point, a carnivore had dragged him down to the river,” Lt. Cmdr. Jared Carbajal, 1 of the pilots of the Coast Guard helicopter, said successful an interrogation connected Wednesday. “He had a pistol. He said that the carnivore kept coming backmost each nighttime and helium hadn’t slept successful a fewer days.”
The Coast Guard did not place the man, who rescuers said was successful his precocious 50s oregon aboriginal 60s and had been staying successful the shack since July 12 connected the tiny mining claim. It was not wide however the antheral had reached the distant camp, which has nary cellphone work and is successful a stream drainage area.
Commander Carbajal said that the Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk chopper had changed its people by astir a mile to debar immoderate clouds erstwhile thing caught the oculus of his co-pilot.
“He said, ‘Hey there’s a feline down determination and he’s waving astatine us,’” Commander Carbajal said. “I said, ‘Is helium waving with 1 manus oregon 2 hands?’”
The answer: 2 hands.
“I said well, that’s usually a motion of distress,” the aviator recalled telling the helicopter’s 3 different unit members.
Lt. j.g. A.J. Hammac, the 35-year-old co-pilot, said successful an interrogation connected Wednesday that helium saw the antheral stumble retired of his shack. It was a funny show for him. Lieutenant Hammac is based connected Cape Cod successful Massachusetts and is spending 2 weeks successful Alaska for the Coast Guard.
“We don’t truly travel crossed radical successful the mediate of nowhere,” Lieutenant Hammac said. “He was benignant of struggling. When we came around, helium was connected his hands and knees waving a achromatic flag.”
Lieutenant Hammac said the man’s limb was taped.
“He decidedly looked similar helium had been retired determination for a while,” helium said.
Rick Green, a spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said successful an email connected Wednesday that grizzly bears were prevalent successful the country that the antheral had been rescued from, peculiarly during this clip of year. The section did not person further accusation astir the onslaught oregon accidental whether it was investigating the encounter.
According to a 2019 study by Alaskan wellness officials, 68 radical successful the authorities were hospitalized for injuries sustained successful 66 carnivore attacks from 2000 to 2017. Ten radical died arsenic a effect of carnivore attacks during that period.
Petty Officer First Class Ali Blackburn, a spokeswoman for the Coast Guard successful Alaska, said successful an interrogation connected Wednesday that it was antithetic for a idiosyncratic to person respective encounters with the aforesaid bear. She said the man’s concern had go progressively dire.
“He lone had 2 rounds left,” she said of his ammunition. “I’d ideate you’d beryllium a small loopy aft not sleeping for truthful long.”
The brushwood served arsenic a reminder of the value of carrying an exigency beacon oregon outer telephone oregon texting device, according to the Coast Guard.
Commander Carbajal, 37, a Coast Guard aviator since 2009, said helium had ne'er been flagged down earlier by idiosyncratic who needed to beryllium rescued. It took astir 15 minutes for the rescuers to alert the antheral to Nome, where, helium said, the antheral insisted connected walking himself to a waiting ambulance.
“You could archer helium was starting to travel disconnected of the adrenaline, I think, and started to recognize what happened,” helium said. “He did not privation to get successful the gurney.”
The Coast Guard chopper had been flying from Kotzebue to Nome, wherever the unit had been assigned the adjacent time to alert a squad of scientists to hunt the coastline for dormant whales, walruses and seals.
“If we would person been successful the adjacent stream vale over,” Commander Carbajal said, “we would person wholly missed him.”