Alaska Man Survives Terrifying Bear Attack

Brown bear put his head in its mouth and bit twice
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2021 4:42 AM CDT

(Newser) – Over his 40 years in Alaska, six people Allen Minish knows have been mauled by bears. On Tuesday, he became the seventh. The 61-year-old was badly injured after he startled a large brown bear near Gulkana, around 190 miles northeast of Anchorage. Minish, who had been surveying land for a real estate agent, tells the AP that the bear charged and closed the ground between them in seconds. Minish says he tried to dodge behind trees and defend himself with his surveying pole, but the bear knocked him to the ground. He then tried to grab its lower jaw to stop it from biting him, but the bear managed to get its mouth over his head. "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," Minish says.

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The bear then stalked off after apparently deciding Minish was no longer a threat. Minish wrapped his T-shirt and surveyor's vest around his heavily bleeding head and called 911. After almost an hour, first responders found him in thick bush and helped him walk a quarter-mile to the trans-Alaska pipeline road, where an ambulance was waiting. He was hospitalized in Anchorage with injuries including a deep puncture wound in his scalp and needed more than 100 stitches. He says the whole bear encounter lasted less than 10 seconds. "It was just, wrong place, wrong time for me and the bear. And everything happened so fast," he tells KTUU. "Maybe I should’ve been wearing bells," he says, "but my GPS is always squawking so loudly so much, I usually don’t think about it." He says he had trouble sleeping Tuesday night, but he's now feeling fine and plans to return to work Monday.

(Read more bear attack stories.)

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