Only on 10: RI man recounts grizzly attack
CHARLESTOWN, R.I. —
John Matson is back at his home in Charlestown after he was mauled by a grizzly bear in Alaska.
"I got into a little tussle with him," he said.
The 46-year-old was attacked by the bear Sept. 9 during a guided bear hunt near Beaver Mountain, about 40 miles southwest of the interior town of McGrath.
He shot at the bear, and the grizzly charged back and bit him four times.
"His first bite was the end of by gun barrel and he ripped it out of my hands and at that point I knew I was in trouble. I was on my back from when he pulled the gun out of my hands and I put my feet up in the air as he lunged down forward at me. He bit me in my upper thigh and from there, he lifted his head he went for my stomach. And from there, I was lucky enough to get one hand over my head and he bit me twice on the top of my head," Matson said.
Matson's head is covered in bandages, and another surgery awaits.
Two men who were hunting with Matson rushed to save him.
"We started shooting over the bear thinking that maybe it would break his focus if only for a moment and either it was coincidental or that worked, and the bear dropped John," Steve Persson said.
Persson and Eric Northrup stepped in and after the bear took off, and began to address Matson's wounds.
"We cut some sleeves, made some tourniquets and my thought was just for us to get out as quick as possible," Northrup said.
The trio walked a mile to camp and waited through the night until a rescue helicopter arrived.
"We made the best of a situation and I had two friends fortunate enough there to save my life," Matson said.