A man in the Alaskan wilderness was sleep-deprived and running out of ammunition after fighting a grizzly bear every night for days by the time a Coast Guard crew flying over the area saw him waving his arms in distress and his SOS signal. sign .
The crew was flying to Nome on a mission to help a team of scientists search for dead whales, walruses and seals along the Alaskan coast on Friday when they saw the man waving both hands in the air.
He stood by a hut with the words “SOS” and “help me” sprawled on the tin roof, the coast guard reports.
When they landed, they said they noticed the man had a bandage on his leg and some bruises.
Then, they said, the man told the crew that he had been attacked by a grizzly bear a few days earlier.
He said the bear had returned to his cabin every night since then.
“At one point a bear had dragged him to the river,” Lieutenant Commander Jared Carbajal, one of the Coast Guard helicopter pilots, told the New York Times.
“He had a gun,” Carbajal said. “He said the bear came back every night and he hadn’t slept in days.”
The man, whose name was not mentioned by the coast guard, had been in the cabin since July 12 in a mining camp 40 miles from Nome.
He reportedly did not have a cell phone with him at the time.
It’s unclear what the man was doing there, but officials said his friends reported him missing when he failed to return to Nome.
DailyMail.com has reached out to Coast Guard officials for more information.
A Coast Guard crew bound for Nome, Alaska, on Friday saw a man in a remote mining camp 40 miles from the city (pictured) waving both arms in a plea for help
The crew was on their way to Nome, Alaska from Kotzebue when they saw the man
The man claimed he was terrorized by a grizzly bear, like the one you see here, that dragged him to the river and came back to his cabin every night for a week.
According to the New York Times, the aircrew from the Kodiak . Coast Guard station is changed his route to Nome, Alaska from Kotzebue about a mile to avoid some cloudiness when a Lieutenant Commander AJ Hammac saw the man stumble out of the cabin—something he says he’s not used to seeing in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where he is based.
“He said, ‘Hey, there’s a man down there and he’s waving at us,” Carbajal, who has been with the Coast Guard since 2009, told the Times.
‘I said, ‘Is he waving with one hand or with two hands?’
When Hammac said it was both hands, Carbajal said he said to his three crew members, “Well, that’s usually a sign of distress.”
Hammac, 35, agreed, saying: “He was having a bit of a rough time.
“When we passed by, he was on his hands and knees waving a white flag,” he told the Times, noting that the man’s leg had been taped.
The man was flown to Nome in an MH-60 helicopter, as seen here
“He definitely looked like he’d been there for a while.”
Authorities said the man, in his late 50s or early 60s, had only two cartridges in his gun when they found him, and boarded him on a helicopter to take him to Nome, where an ambulance was waiting for him.
The man reportedly walked out of the helicopter and onto the ambulance on his own.
“You could see he was starting to get off the adrenaline, I think, and he was starting to realize what had happened,” Carbajal said. “He didn’t want to be on the stretcher.”
He added that in the end it was just as well that the crew had to change course at the last minute and said, “Had we been to the next river valley we would have missed it completely.”
The rescue comes just over two weeks after a Montana man was bitten twice by a bear while hiking his dog Buckley in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on July 3.
Jason Umbriaco said a brown bear with two cubs came up to him so fast that he didn’t have time to get out his bear spray.
“So then I held my arms up in a kind of defensive position, and then she bit me in the forearm, a little bit close to my elbow.”
When the bear let go, he said, he panicked and jumped into the Kenai River.
“In almost every other circumstance, and probably in this circumstance, it was a terrible option, but that was the one I had,” Umbriaco said.
“And then she reaches down and bites me on the shoulder.”
After that second attack, he said, the bear withdrew with her cubs to a hill, whereupon Umbriaco decided to call for help.
He was transported to a local hospital where he was eventually reunited with his dog, who found a woman safe after the attack.
Rick Green, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, told the Times that grizzly bear attacks are common in that area, especially at this time of year.
A 2019 report from Alaska health officials states that 68 people were hospitalized for injuries sustained in 66 bear attacks from 2000 to 2017, and 10 people died.
But Petty Officer Ali Blackburn, an Alaska Coast Guard spokeswoman, said it’s unusual for a person to have multiple encounters with the same bear.