Anchorage, Alaska – Allen Minish was alone investigating the land of a real estate agent in a remote, wooded area of Alaska. He looked up and saw a big brown bear walking about 30 feet away and entered some numbers into the GPS unit.
“He saw me at the same time I saw him, and it’s scary,” he said on the phone from his hospital bed in Anchorage on Wednesday, the day after being beaten by a bear in an accidental encounter.
The beating caused Minish to crush his jaw and puncture his scalp, and doctors said he could see bones, lacerations, and many seams in four and a half hours of surgery. He also has a patch on his right eye, saying the doctor is worried about it.
After astonishing the bear on Tuesday morning, just off the Richardson Highway near Gulkana, about 190 miles (306 km) northeast of Anchorage, all the damage came from a very short encounter.
The bear, which said it was bigger than the 300-pound black bear that Minish saw, charged and closed the ground between them in seconds.
Minish tried to dodge behind a small spruce tree. It didn’t stop the bear. He went through them.
As the bear approached, Minish lifted the pointed end of the survey pole and pushed it towards the bear, away from it.
The bear just hit it sideways, and with that force the minish also hit the ground.
“When he rushed over me, I grabbed his lower jaw and pulled him away,” he said, saying that was the way he got a stab wound in his hand. “But he threw me there and grabbed a quarter of my face.”
“He bite a little and then bite a second time. The second bite was a pain … and basically crushed my right cheek,” he said.
When the bear let go, Minish turned his face to the ground and put his hand on his head.
And the bear just went away.
He no longer recognizes Minish as a threat, so he speculates on the bears left behind. The bear exit — Alaskan State soldiers later said he couldn’t find the bear — gave him time to assess the damage.
“I noticed that I was pretty sick because this blood was everywhere,” he said.
He called 911 on his cell phone. While talking to the dispatcher, he took off his surveyor’s vest and T-shirt and wrapped it around his head to stop bleeding.
Then he waited 59 minutes for help to arrive. He later checked his cell phone records about how long he was told to stay in touch with the coordinator until the rescue team arrived, so he knows how long it took.
At some point he was able to give the dispatcher accurate coordinates from the GPS unit, but he still struggled.
“I had a lot of blood in my eyes and GPS and I had to wipe it all off, so it took me a while to give them,” he said.
He said one of the rescue teams called him a hero after seeing how much blood was flowing on the ground.
To meet the ambulance, rescue teams tried to bring him through the woods to a road parallel to the nearby Trans-Alaska Pipeline. It didn’t work, and he said he had to help them walk a quarter mile through swamps, brushes and trees. From there, he was taken to a nearby airport and taken by a medical helicopter to the Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. He is listed in good condition in Providence.
Before the help arrived, he was worried that the bear would come back to end him. “I kept listening,” he said, but every time he tried to look around, he was dizzy because of blood loss.
“He didn’t come back, so I was just worried about lying there,” he said.
Minish, 61, has shared an encounter with a bear for 40 years in Alaska, but this is not the case. He owns his own surveying and engineering business, which often takes him to the wild.
“That’s one lesson I learned,” he said. “I should have been with someone.”
He left his gun in the car for this job, but said it wasn’t a problem because the bear moved so fast over him that it didn’t help.
He can now add his name to the list of six people he knows of being attacked by a bear in Alaska.
“I think I’m lucky,” Minish said of his encounter with a bear. After someone tells him it’s better than dying.
“Honestly, either method was fine. You know, if it killed me, it killed me. I had a good life. Go ahead. It’s I didn’t kill me, so now let’s move on to another direction of trying to stay alive, “he said.
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Alaskan man survives brown bear beating
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