First they saw the SOS sign — then the U.S. Coast Guard saw waving arms.
An unidentified man was rescued from a remote mining camp near Nome, Alaska, by Coast Guard aircrew departing from the city of Kotzebue on July 16 after they flew over the area, according to a news release from the Coast Guard.
The man told officials a bear attacked him a few days prior to the rescue and asked for medical care. Aircrew members found bruising on his torso and a leg injury.
The individual, who has not been publicly identified, said the bear returned to his camp every night for a week, according to the news release.
Officials did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ request for additional information.
Nome is a small city located on the western coast of Alaska. Bears aren’t an uncommon sighting in the state.
In fact, Alaska is home to three species of bears: black bears, brown bears (grizzly bears) and polar bears, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
More than 98 percent of the country’s population of brown bears live in Alaska, with an estimated population of 30,000, the state’s Fish and Game reported.
And that’s not counting the approximately 100,000 black bears that live in Alaska.
What to do when encountering a bear
The state’s Fish and Game said bears are shy creatures and would prefer to avoid people. But if someone has a close run-in with a bear, the department advises never approaching the animal.
“Every bear has a ‘personal space’– the distance within which the bear feels threatened,” the department stated on their website. “If you enter that space, the bear may become aggressive.”
Once close to a bear, remain calm, watch what the animal is doing and give it an opportunity to walk away. The state’s Department of Fish and Game said most times people aren’t in danger around a bear.
Usually, the animal wants to protect its cubs, food or personal space.
The department urged people to “stand your ground,” talk in a normal volume and wave your arms above your head to appear taller. Then slowly back away, stopping if the bear tries to follow.
Story by The Charlotte Observer