Allen Minish, 61, was surveying land for a local real estate agent outside of a town called Glennallen off the Richardson Highway in Southcentral Alaska when he looked up and saw a large brown bear walking about 30 feet away.
“I saw him and he saw me at the same time, and it’s scary,” he told the Anchorage Daily News on Wednesday from his hospital bed in Anchorage.
In seconds the bear closed the distance between the two as Minish tried to dodge behind small spruce trees that had little effect on restraining the charging animal. Minish held the pointed end of his surveying pole toward the bear in effort to keep it away but it knocked the pole to the side with a force that sent the man to the ground.
“He took a small bite and then he took a second bite, and the second bite is the one that broke the bones and crushed my right cheek basically.”
After the bear released his head from the second bite, Minish rolled his face to the ground and covered his head with his hands.Then the bear just left. The entire interaction lasted around 10 seconds. Minish surmises that the bear no longer considered him a threat so he lost interest and moved on.
Though bleeding profusely from his head and hands, and barely able to see with one eye, Minish was able to dial 911 on his cell phone and relay his exact position via GPS coordinates. During the 59 minutes he waited for rescue, he worried that the bear would return to finish him off.
“I kept hearing stuff. He didn’t come back, and so I just lay there and worried about it. I guess I feel lucky.”
Eventually help arrived and was transferred to a hospital where he underwent a 4.5 surgery to repair a crushed jaw and a puncture wound so deep bone was visible. He is still recovering a there.
Unfortunately there isn’t an all encompassing “how to” survival guide applicable for every bear attack scenario, but here’s a video that goes over some of the basics:
Feature Image by Allen Minish and David Hemmings