A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued a bear attack survivor after spotting his SOS sign atop a cabin in a remote mining camp in Alaska, the agency said. The man told the crew that the bear had harassed him at night for several days after the attack.
The crew spotted the man as he flew from Kotzebue, Alaska to Nome last Friday, the Coast Guard said in a statement on Tuesday. Near Nome, the crew saw the SOS sign and the man waving his hands.
The crew landed and assessed the man. The Coast Guard said he appeared to have sustained a leg injury and a bruised torso.
The Coast Guard did not identify the man, but his rescuers told the New York Times he was in his late 50s or early 60s.
“At one point a bear had dragged him down to the river,” Lieutenant-Commander Jared Carbajal, one of the helicopter pilots, told the newspaper.
Carbajal told The Times the man had a gun and said he hadn’t slept for a few days. By the time he was rescued, the man had only two rounds of ammunition left, Petty Officer 1st Class Ali Blackburn, a spokesman for the Coast Guard, told the newspaper.
The crew transported the man to Nome for treatment. Carbajal told the newspaper that the crew would not have spotted him if their flight path had not passed through the camp.
“If we had been in the next river valley,” he said, “we would have missed him totally.”