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.
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.
A Colorado man knew something was wrong when he heard a commotion early Friday morning in the Aspen house where he’s staying with his kids.
“I laid in bed thinking, ‘I really hope this isn’t a bear,'” Dave Chernosky told CNN. “I figured it probably was, but I was sure hoping for something else once I got into the kitchen.”
He said the large black bear, estimated at about 400 pounds, was standing at the refrigerator when he walked in the room. The animal had opened drawers and cabinets and thrown stuff around.
He was able to keep the kitchen island between them and then tried to coax the bear into the garage to get it outside.
The plan seemed to work, but Chernosky said the bear got spooked when he hit the garage door opener, and it came back in the house.
Chernosky went to make sure that it didn’t wander down the stairs to where his 12-year-old twins were sleeping. That’s when he encountered the bear face-to-face.
“We looked at each other, and he just smacked me in the side of the head and spun me around and got me again on the back,” Chernosky said. “I literally heard it crack on my head. A bear paw is not soft and cushy.”
He was bleeding heavily from cuts to his forehead and neck, but was able to scramble away and scream at the bear to leave.
“I just knew if he didn’t leave I was in big trouble,” Chernosky said. “But fortunately, he was done at that point and just left.”
Officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife were able to track down the bear and euthanize it. They’ll test samples from the bear and the house to make sure they got the right animal.
“Based on the direct and clear trail that tracking dogs quickly followed, along with the physical description of the bear from witnesses, we’re certain that we got the offending animal,” said Area Wildlife Manager Matt Yamashita in a statement. “We never like to have to put an animal down but the protection of the public is paramount once a bear begins entering homes and responding aggressively toward people.”
Officials said it matched the description of a bear that had been seen in the neighborhood for several days. It may have been the same bear that’s been reported raiding trash cans in the area and evading capture for the past couple of years.
It’s unclear how the bear got in the house, but Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton told CNN affiliate KMGH that the front door had a lever handle, which are easier for bears to open.
This was the first bear attack in Aspen this year, according to the statement. The three bear attacks in the area in 2019 all occurred outdoors.
Chernosky said he feels lucky as he recovers from his wounds, adding that doctors told him the bear’s claws just missed his eye and his carotid artery.