Bear-Mauling Victim Rescued after 36 Hours in Alaskan Wild
By Timur Moon | August 18, 2013 11:16 PM EST
A hunting guide survived 36 hours in the Alaskan wilderness after being mauled by a brown bear, Canadian air rescue teams confirmed.
James Tuttle was airlifted to hospital after being separated from his hunting party about 30 miles north of Anaktuvuk Pass, a tiny village in the Gates of the Arctic National Park.
Tuttle's condition was described as stable, and he was receiving treatment at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital after being flown in to an Air Force base.
His disappearance led authorities to draft in the Alaska Air National Guard, after dense fog forced search teams and state troopers to abandon rescue efforts.
Crews equipped with night-vision goggles and flares managed to locate Tuttle, despite poor visibility.
He had suffered severe blood loss and other injuries, but received life-saving treatment at the hands of a medic from a nearby hunting party.
"The para-rescue men credit him for saving the man's life," said Master Sergeant Armando Soria, a member of the search-and-rescue team.
"He provided expert care with limited resource for several hours, ultimately stabilising, warming and re-hydrating the victim. He was able to decrease the blood loss and maintain life until help could arrive."
Tuttle later told rescuers he remembered approaching a caribou carcass when the bear lunged at him on the remote Brooks mountain range, said Chris Bowerfind, a parajumper who was also part of the rescue mission.
"The only thing he remembers is hearing a grunt and a grumble from the brush, and as he turned he said she was right on top of him," said Bowerfind.
The bear batted at Tuttle, then attacked a second time, leaving him badly hurt, Bowerfind told the Anchorage Daily News.
However, Tuttle was in good spirits following his rescue, said Bowerfind, and was cracking jokes, despite looking like he'd "gone a couple rounds with a UFC fighter".
"He was a great patient, all things considered," added Bowerfind. "Just in a lot of pain."
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