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Rescuers tried to carry him through the woods to a road that parallels the nearby trans-Alaska pipeline to meet an ambulance. That didn’t work, and he said they had to help walk him a quarter mile through swamps, brush and trees. From there, he was taken to a nearby airport and flown to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage by a medical helicopter. He is listed in good condition at Providence.
Before help arrived, he worried about the bear returning to finish him off. “I kept hearing stuff,” he said, but every time he tried to lean up 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, 61, has had his share of bear encounters over the 40 years he’s lived in Alaska, but nothing like this. He owns his own surveying and engineering business, which takes him into the wild often.
“That’s the one lesson learned,” he said. “I should have had somebody with me.”
He left his gun in the vehicle on this job but said it wouldn’t have mattered because 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 with the bear, 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.
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