‘Colin Dowler ended up in a Life-or-Death Struggle with a Grizzly Bear in B.C.’
A Canadian man from Dowler, British Columbia survived a brutal grizzly bear attack by stabbing the animal in the neck with a 2-inch pocket knife, according to reports.
Colin Dowler, 45, was mountain biking in the remote back country of British Columbia outside of the city of Power River on July 29 when he spotted a large male grizzly.
Dowler stopped about 100 feet away from the bear in order to decide what he should do next—stay still, ride past the bear, or cycle in the opposite direction. Dowler stated, “he wasn’t really sure what to do about the situation,” “I largely stood there, and let the grizzly keep walking up towards me.”
As the bear approached him, Dowler—now becoming more nervous—tried to stay as still as possible so as not to provoke the bear. When the bear was too close for comfort, Dowler tried to nudge him away with a hiking pole, BBC reported. A brief tug-of-war ensued before Dowler threw his bike at the animal, the report said.
However, the bear began swatting at him with its paws. Eventually, Dowler threw the bike at the animal in another attempt to make it leave. The bear then grabbed Dowler by the stomach and dragged him to a ditch about 50 feet away. Dowler said he tried to play dead as the animal bit into his arm, foot, and thigh.
“It was so much pain and weirdness, I could feel the hot blood,” he told the BBC. “I’m being rag-dolled, suspended by my flank by a bear carrying me.”
The bear then dragged him to a ditch around 50 feet away and began biting into his arm, foot and thighs. In an attempt to free himself, Dowler tried gouging the bear’s eyes and playing dead but neither seemed to work.
“It sounded like it was grating my bones up,” Dowler told CBC.
Then Dowler remembered that he had a small pocket knife in the pocket of his pants.
“Somehow, I don’t know how I did it. I used both hands to pull underneath the bear to get to that knife, and I grabbed the knife out and opened it and put it in [my] hand and stabbed the bear in his neck,” he said.
“It let go of me immediately. It was bleeding quite badly. I wasn’t really sure if it was dying faster than I was,” he said.
The bear backed off slightly and Dowler then cut off one his shirt sleeves to use as a tourniquet on his injured leg. He then managed to clamber onto his bike and cycle away down the logging road.
“I was thinking I’m not going to make it,” he said. “It was pretty freaking scary.”
After about 4 and a half miles he passed a worksite where he collapsed and called for help. Five workers rushed to his help and administered first aid.
“They just went to work, doing their best to save my life,” he told the BBC. “They’re truly the heroes of the story because there’s no way I would have made it without [them].”
Vittorio Giannandrea, one of the five men who attended to Dowler at Ramsey Arm worksite, said that when they saw him initially, they were “shocked and unnerved.”
“Then we began talking to him, cutting off the clothing on the apparent wounds where blood soaked through everything and just used as many hands, large bandages and other materials to stop the bleeding and cover the wounds,” Giannandrea told CBC.
The workers then called an air ambulance which took him to a hospital in Vancouver where he is now recovering.
Officers from the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service subsequently tracked the bear down following the attack and euthanized it.
British Columbia is home to around 15,000 grizzly bears, as well as some 120,000-150,000 black bears.
However, unprovoked bear attacks are extremely rare, in large part because the animals usually like to avoid contact with humans.
Nevertheless, the province of British Columbia provides the following advice if you do encounter a bear in backcountry:
-Stay calm: If the bear sees you, talk in a low, calm voice and then regardless if it has seen you or not.
-Back up slowly: Never turn your back on a bear, or run. Running could trigger an attack.
-Do not stare: The bear will see a direct stare as a challenge.
-Give it space: Make sure it has a way to get away, and that you are not blocking access to a bear’s cubs or its food.
-If a bear approaches you or charges: Do not run!
-Use your bear spray as it approaches
If you are being attacked, you have two options: Play dead or fight back.
Defensive attack: “Usually, bears charge or attack because they are feeling threatened. Use your bear spray. If you don’t have bear spray and the bear makes contact with you—roll on your stomach, cover the back of your neck, remain still and play dead, they will lose interest and leave. Do NOT run!”
Predatory attack: “In rare cases, a bear may see a human as prey and stalk you along a trail. In these cases, try to escape into a building, car or up a tree. If you cannot escape and the bear charges, use your bear spray, lacking that, use anything at your disposal to fight off the bear (rocks, sticks, hiking poles).”
Wes Perkins was the luckiest man to walk the earth, this guy survived the most gruesome bear attack ever.
The bear attack was so horrific, hard to look at or to think about.
The following is a story from Anchorage Daily News about survival, incredible willpower, and how the unbelievable can become the truth.
Wes Perkins is from Alaska, and he knows how lucky he is.
Life is good, but it will never be the same after the unfortunate bear attack that nearly cost him his life.
After 26 surgeries and more than $1 million accumulated in medical expenses later, Wes is getting along. He’s not the man he once was, but he’s still very appreciative to be alive.
According to Anchorage Daily News,
“Wes Perkins is whole in body and still badly disfigured. There is no gentle way to describe his condition. Doctors had to use part of his fibula to create a jaw to replace what the bear ripped off of his face. He still has a tube in his throat. His left eye, which sees only light and dark, weeps constantly. And probably worst of all, for a man who always loved to talk, he is now hard to understand because he speaks with only half a tongue.”
So how did this nightmare of situation come about? It was essentially a bear hunt gone bad, a routine and pleasant hunt that took a turn for the worse when Perkins came across the wrong bear at the wrong time.
Rather than fleeing like most usually do, the bear fed into it’s fighting instinct, as it likely felt threatened. It turned out to be bad news for Perkins.
Perkins, who is a trained paramedic, recalls the attack vividly. He was quoted in the interview with Anchorage Daily News:
“I had to dig stuff out of (my) airway to breathe,” he wrote. “If I was unconscious, I would have died. Also, (as) long as I lay still just right I was able to keep my airway open. I could not move my face sideways or my airway would close. I know if I lost consciousness, I would probably die. So I stayed alert all the way (to Nome), and I could squeeze the hands of my two partners when they asked me questions.”
His partners were Dan Stang, a Nome dentist, and his son, Edward, a student in dentistry school at the time. They shot the 8-foot-tall, 13-year-old grizzly bear off of Perkins, which was the first action made that lead to survival of Wes. That act was accompanied by many others that have allowed Perkins to carry on with life.
And that is the amazing part of this story. A team effort and incredible will power of a human to survive is what helped create this rescue and survival of epic proportions.
Here’s more from the Anchorage Daily News,
Even as the Stangs began life-saving first aid, they were radioing for help from Nome, a community far from anywhere at the tip of the Seward Peninsula jutting into the sea closer to Russia than Anchorage, the urban hub of the 49th state.
Perkins’ brother Nate made the radio call. He didn’t call Alaska State Troopers and wait for others to act. He pretty much single-handedly organized a rescue to lift his brother from the wilderness of the Kigluaik Mountains, about 30 miles east of this small community. “Ace chopper pilot Ben Rowe saved his life,” Nate said at the time, but Rowe was only one of the many who combined to save then 54 year old Wes. Rowe was in the air only minutes after taking a phone call from Nate. As he flew, others were rolling into action, too.
Wes, the Survivor
Wes is getting along as best as he can.
Four months after the attack, Wes is able to get around on his own, but is far from being back to life as he knew it. Everything he consumes comes from a blender now, but its better than being underground. Every day is a day of improvement, and medical staff members are still working on getting him back to his best state.
The detail and information found inside this story will blow your mind. Some of it is extremely gruesome and vivid. “Extraordinary” and “incredible” are the only two words fitting enough to describe the miracle that happened.
Wes wants everyone to be careful, and to remember wild animals are not your friends. They are not good or bad, they are simply wild animals, and that is something to be remembered.
“Some think I was taking pictures,” he wrote. “I did not know the bear was 69 feet away in a snow cave. I would not get 69 feet from a bear in the zoo.
“I had a camera in my pocket, snowgo jacket. So when I stopped, I thought the bear was ahead of me. We saw it had been running. So I stopped to take camera out of pocket and put it in my dash bag as I could shoot the gun.”
The bear attacked as he was doing that.
“I turned and saw the bear, full charge,” he wrote. “I only had time to say, ‘Oh shit!’ But I got (my) gun 1/2 way off my back . . . When I turned around, the bear was that close. I had no time to do anything. Nine steps from 69 feet, according to Fish and Game. Big bear.”
Perkins, who spent his life in Alaska, has a fair bit of experience around grizzlies, but added, “I never had one hide like this one!” What followed after it burst from a snow cave has been an experience he couldn’t imagine in his worst nightmares.