A surveyor was left with a crushed jaw and punctured scalp after being mauled by a 300-pound bear in remote Alaskan woods.
Allen Dewitt Minish, 61, was surveying land for a real estate agent just off Mile 117 on Richardson Highway, near Gulkana. He was putting coordinates into his GPS when he noticed the bear, which immediately charged and mauled the 61-year-old for 10 seconds.
The attack left Minish with a crushed jaw, a puncture wound on his scalp to the bone, and cuts.
He was airlifted to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, where he underwent 4½-hours of surgery.
Allen Minish was alone and surveying land for a real estate agent in a wooded, remote part of Alaska when he was mauled by a bear on Tuesday
‘I saw him and he saw me at the same time, and it’s scary,’ he said by phone Wednesday from his hospital bed in Anchorage, a day after the encounter.
Minish, who is from Chitna, tried to dodge behind small spruce trees as the bear charged, but was unable to get away.
He then pointed the sharp end of his surveying pole at the brown bear to protect himself, but the animal knocked the metal and Minish to the ground with one swipe.
He was putting some numbers into his GPS unit when he looked up and saw a large brown bear walking about 30 feet away (pictured, a brown bear in Alaska)
Minish was transferred to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage (pictured) after the attack, where he underwent 4½-hours of surgery
The incident happened just off the Richardson Highway, near Gulkana, located about 190 miles (306 kilometers) northeast of Anchorage
‘As he lunged up on top of me, I grabbed his lower jaw to pull him away,’ he said, noting that’s how he got a puncture wound in his hand. ‘But he tossed me aside there, grabbed a quarter of my face.’
‘He took a small bite and then he took a second bite, and the second bite is the one that broke the bones … and crushed my right cheek basically,’ he said.
When the bear let go, Minish turned his face to the ground and put his hands over his head. And then the bear walked away.
He told Alaska State Troopers he thought the bear left because he no longer saw Minish as a threat.
Troopers said they were unable to locate the bear following the incident.
Minish believes the bear stopped attacking him because he no longer saw him as a threat (pictured, a large brown bear in Sargent River, Lake Clarke National Park)
Explaining his predicament, Minish said: ‘I realized I was in pretty bad shape because I had blood everywhere,’.
He then phoned 911, which dispatched rescue teams, and used his vest and T-shirt to stop the blood coming from his head.
Nearly an hour later, rescuers arrived and helped him walk through the woods to a road where he was met by an ambulance.
He was then taken to a nearby airport and flown to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage by a medical helicopter.
Minish was taken to a nearby airport and flown to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage by a medical helicopter, where is in a stable condition (pictured, a medical helicopter in Austin, Texas)
The 61-year-old surveyor is in a stable condition at Providence Hospital (pictured) in Anchorage, the Alaskan capital
He told AP he constantly worried during the hour-long wait that the bear would return.
‘I kept hearing stuff,’ he said, but every time he tried to look around, he became dizzy from the loss of blood.
‘He didn’t come back, and so I just lay there and worried about it,’ he said.
Minish has had his share of bear encounters over the 40 years he’s lived in Alaska, but nothing like this.
‘That’s the one lesson learned,’ he said. ‘I should have had somebody with me.’
He left his gun in his vehicle, but said the bear moved on him too fast for it to have been any use.
He can now add his name to the list of six people he knows who have been mauled by bears in Alaska.
‘I guess I feel lucky,’ Minish said of his encounter, after someone told him it’s better than being dead.
‘In all honesty, it wouldn’t have mattered either way. You know, if it killed me, it killed me. I had a good life; I’m moving on. It didn’t kill me, so now let’s move on to the other direction of trying to stay alive,’ he said.
Minish ran as a Republican candidate for Alaska state senate in 2012, losing his one-off foray into politics to Democratic incumbent Donald Olson.