Man rescued after weeklong struggle with bear at Alaska camp, writing 'SOS' on shack

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An injured man was rescued Friday after reportedly fending off a bear for a week at a remote mining camp in Alaska, officials said.

The man, who was not identified, was spotted waving his hands in distress as a helicopter crew from the Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak passed overhead, according to a statement from the Coast Guard on Tuesday.

A remote mining camp near Nome, Alaska, where a Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak aircrew rescued the survivor of a bear attack. (U.S. Coast Guard)
A remote mining camp near Nome, Alaska, where a Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak aircrew rescued the survivor of a bear attack. (U.S. Coast Guard)

Crew members initially saw an SOS sign on top of a shack in the camp while on a trip from Kotzebue to Nome, only seeing the man after circling back.

He was taken to Nome for emergency medical care with an injured leg and bruised torso after a bear attack days prior.

“The man reported that the bear had returned to his camp and harassed him every night for a week straight,” the Coast Guard said.

It’s unclear what type of bear reportedly attacked the man, but both brown and black bears are common in the state. Alaska is home to 98 percent of the nation’s brown bear population, according to its Fish and Game Department.

Brown bears are typically associated with bear attacks, as they are larger and can display more aggression. A specific subspecies of North American brown bears indigenous to the region are Kodiak bears, native to the Kodiak Archipelago in Alaska. Other brown bears in the region are commonly referred to as “grizzly” bears.

American black bears, which are smaller than brown bears, are less likely to attack humans and are rarely aggressive to people unless protecting their cubs.

Like many animals, bears are facing the issue of habitat loss as human expansion contributes to deforestation, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

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