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Alaska Beat

Man pleads for help in 911 call during Alaska grizzly mauling

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published June 13, 2012

Benjamin Radakovich's grizzly bear mauling may fade from memory, but he'll always have a public record of his troubles, thanks to transcripts of his 911 call for help from a south Anchorage trail.

On Tuesday, Alaska State Troopers released the 911 call placed by the 30-year-old Eagle River man shortly after his grizzly encounter.

Radakovich was hiking the Bird Creek trail on Sunday when he was caught off guard by a sow and her cub. He reportedly fought off the bear as she repeatedly attacked him. During the altercation he was able to break away and haul himself up a nearby tree for relief. But his troubles didn't end there.

Some 30 feet above the ground Radakovich had few other choices but to call for help, and so call he did.

In the recording the dispatcher asked Radakovich if he needed an ambulance to which he paused before answering "yes." Radakovich sounded calm, but shaken-up. He reported bleeding badly, saying that "the damn thing was batting at me" before apparently being disconnected and then calling back.

It took rescuers around two hours to find and dislodge Radakovich from his tree. A trooper helicopter was able to land in the area, although not close and so an all-terrain vehicle was deployed to transport the hiker back to the chopper. He was flown out to an Anchorage hospital where he received stitches and congratulations for his quick thinking.

The Washington Post reported rescue team member Tim Lewis's account:

I can only imagine being mauled by a large brown bear would be very, very traumatic. He (Radakovich) was in shock. The good thing is that he had his cell phone with him (and) he didn't have it in his backpack, which really made a big difference.

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