ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The father of a Rhode Island man mauled by a grizzly bear in Alaska says it’s a miracle his son is alive.
John O. Matson Jr. of Charlestown, R.I., was listed in fair condition Wednesday at an Anchorage hospital.
The 46-year-old Matson was attacked by the bear Monday during a guided hunt near Beaver Mountain, about 40 miles southwest of the interior town of McGrath. Bad weather prevented rescuers from quickly reaching Matson’s party of three. Matson was rescued from the remote spot on Tuesday, suffering from bite marks on his head and leg.
Matson’s father, John O. Matson Sr. of Hopkinton, R. I., said his son is recuperating after head surgery.
Matson Jr. was attacked about 90 minutes after wounding the bear.
Matson Jr. was with another hunter and an assistant guide near Beaver Mountain, about 50 miles west of McGrath, when they spotted the bear feeding on berries about a mile away and moved toward it.
Matson Jr. fired and saw the bear roll into bushes. The hunters could hear the animal thrashing and after about a minute, it bolted out of the brush and ran into heavier brush.
The hunters waited about 90 minutes before following the bear into the thicket, where the bear attacked Matson Jr. The assistant guide was about 30 feet away and heard him scream and fire his gun. He and the other hunter fired shots to distract the bear and it ran off.
Matson Jr. was bleeding profusely from head wounds, and the assistant guide wrapped clothes around the cuts.
The three hunters had to walk about a mile back to their camp, trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said.
Inclement weather kept a flight from reaching him on Monday. The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center sent a helicopter to the camp Tuesday. It flew Matson Jr. to McGrath and a LifeMed Alaska flight transported him 225 miles southeast to an Anchorage hospital.
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