Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Hunter survives bear attack in remote Alaska
Sanford had been hunting with his son John, 12, his friend Monty Dyson, 47, and Dyson's son Chad, 22, Dyson said. Dyson relayed Sanford's story Tuesday by radio phone from the lodge, which sits on the Denali Highway 42 miles east of Cantwell, Alaska.
Sanford walked away from camp Monday about 2 or 3 p.m. to find a handheld radio he lost earlier, Dyson said.
Sanford was on a game trail when he saw the bear stand up, Dyson said. Sanford backed up, but the bear seemed to circle around him, Dyson said. Sanford told rescuers he first saw the grizzly about 75 yards away from him, said Joe Snyder, one of the many people at the lodge who helped treat Sanford and get him out of the wilderness. The bear quickly closed the gap between them, Snyder said.
"He turned around and the bear was about 20 yards away, and it was coming at him pretty fast with its head
Meantime, the troopers had requested help from the Alaska Air National Guard because of the remote location and the severity of Sanford's injuries, troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.
Snyder said they laid Sanford down in the dining room and wrapped him up in warm blankets from a drier. "He would just snuggle into it and go, 'Ohh.' He really liked that," Snyder said.
Later, an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter with two pararescuemen landed at the lodge, according to the Air Guard. The rescuers hopped out and helped put more bandages on Sanford while the helicopter took off and refueled in the air with an HC-130 that had also been dispatched, the Guard said.
When the helicopter landed again, the rescuers loaded Sanford inside and then flew him to Providence Alaska Medical Center, troopers said.
A Providence spokeswoman said Sanford was listed in "fair" condition late Tuesday.
Dyson, his hunting buddy, returned to the camp to take down their tents and find Sanford's backpack, which he'd dropped during the mauling: It was about 30 yards from a moose carcass, Dyson said.
"That bear was protecting a moose kill that he had there, and Skip just came up on it, and I think that's probably why the bear attacked him," Dyson said.
Posted by OL'MAN Outdoors at 5:17 AM