Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Alaskan man mauled by bear climbs tree, calls 911


An Alaskan man mauled by a brown bear climbed a tree and called 911 for help, telling the dispatcher "The damn thing was batting at me."

Ben Radakovich, 30, also told the dispatcher that he was "bleeding bad," according to the Associated Press report.

The incident occurred Sunday morning when Radakovich encountered a female brown bear with her cub on Penguin Creek Trail south of Anchorage.

Rescuers took two hours to reach him. Troopers carried Radakovich on a wheeled stretcher via an all-terrain vehicle for 1 1/2 miles to where a helicopter was waiting to take him to an Anchorage hospital.

He was released Monday. His injuries and condition were unknown, though a Fox report said he needed "a lot of stitches."

Radakovich told "Good Morning America": "I'm just grateful that I got through it and that I'm here to enjoy another day basically."

Fox News has more details:
Radakovich later told rescuers he called out to warn bears of his presence as he hiked, but said his voice might have been drowned out by the rushing creek waters nearby.

He encountered the bear as he rounded a curve three miles into his hike. The animal was surprised as well, said Trooper Tim Lewis, who was among rescuers to hike in to the site.

It happened so quickly and violently, Radakovich didn't have time to use his bear-repellant spray, according to Lewis. He said none of Radakovich's injuries were life-threatening, but required "a lot of stitches."

Radakovich was still in the tree when the first responders arrived almost two hours after the attack. Another trooper climbed up the thick pine tree and helped get him down, Lewis said.

The victim was cold, bleeding and shivering.

"I can only imagine being mauled by a large brown bear would be very, very traumatic," Lewis said. "He was in shock."

Still, Radakovich was able to tell rescuers what happened. The bear sprung without warning, swatting at Radakovich and a ski pole the hiker was trying to use in self-defense. He figured the bear wasn't going to go away, so he curled up into a fetal position.

At that the bear backed up, giving Radakovich a brief chance to scramble up the tree and dig his phone out of a pocket. His backpack fell off during the struggle.

"The good thing is that he had his cell phone with him," Lewis said. "He didn't have it in his backpack, which really made a big difference."
KTUU of Alaskas posted the 911 call, but the last we checked, it was not working, most likely because of the item going viral. But you can try again here.

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