Stranded Alaska Man Fends Off Attacking Bear For A Week Before Coast Guard Rescue

A bear walking in a field

This story sounds scripted straight out of a classic western movie, especially considering the unidentified man involved miraculously survived to tell the story.

A miner was working a mine site by himself in a remote area outside of Nome, Alaska. His camp was terrorized by a grizzly bear presumably trying to eat him every night. The man was seriously injured, running on fumes from sleep depredation, and almost out of pistol ammo.

Things were not looking good, but he was rescued by a passing Coast Guard helicopter that he flagged down from the ground.

He had no access to a phone or any other way to call for help, so he collected various materials and crafted signs that read “SOS” and “HELP ME.” He placed the signs on the rooftops of the shacks he used to hide from the bear and hoped somebody would see them from a helicopter or bush plane.

Luckily for the stranded man, a United State Coast Guard Helicopter happened to be making a 185-mile flight from the town of Kotzebue to Nome where the crew would be meeting up with a team of scientists for research flights over the Bering Sea. Due to heavy cloud cover, the crew changed course by about a mile to avoid

The Coast Guard issued an official statement with more details on the situation, and Lieutenant Commander Jared Carbajal spoke with the New York Times.

“The man reported that the bear had returned to his camp and harassed him every night for a week straight.

At some point, a bear had dragged him down to the river. 

He had a pistol but only two rounds remaining. He said that the bear kept coming back every night and he hadn’t slept in a few days.”

He was kind of struggling, he was on his hands and knees waving a white flag. He definitely looked like he had been out there for a while.

He said, ‘Hey, there’s a guy down there and he’s waving at us. I said, ‘Is he waving with one hand or two hands? Two hands?

Well, that’s usually a sign of distress. We don’t really come across people in the middle of nowhere. He was kind of struggling. When we came around, he was on his hands and knees waving a white flag.He definitely looked like he had been out there for a while.

He only had two rounds left. I’d imagine you’d be a little loopy after not sleeping for so long.”

The man, who was reportedly in his late 50s or early 60s had been staying at the shack since July 12. He had to be treated for bruises to his torso and a leg injury, bot the damage is not considered to be life threatening.

According to a 2019 report by state health officials, 68 people were hospitalized for injuries sustained in 66 bear attacks in the state between 2000 to 2017. Ten people died as a result of bear attacks during that period.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock