A man severely disfigured after a vicious bear attack has shared an amazing survival story, which he hopes will help others who find themselves in a similar situation.
The attack happened in 2011, but Wes Perkins, 65, still bears the scars of a terrifying encounter with a grizzly bear in the Alaskan mountains. Interviewed by YouTuber Danny Rose for a short film released last month, Perkins, the former Nome City Fire Chief, recounted the attack in detail.
Mr. Perkins was on a hunting trip with his friend Dan Stang and Stang’s son Edward. The three had been following a “beautiful bear” and were heading around the hill hoping to find him, but before they could catch him the animal crawled out of a hole he had found, dug up and startling Mr. Perkins.
The bear attacked Mr. Perkins, causing him to lose his teeth, tongue and jaw, before he was finally subdued and killed by Mr. Stang and his son. To survive, Mr. Perkins instinctively scrapes mud from his fresh wounds, and is then airlifted out for medical treatment.
“I basically kept my airway open and had to clear debris from my airway, when I almost lost my tongue, jawbone and a few teeth,” said Mr Perkins. Newsweek. “So the main goal was to tell me to work and not close my eyes or pass out.”
Mr Stang said in the short documentary that the bear also tried to charge at him before his son joined him to pull him out.
During this time, Mr. Perkins kept abreast of his surroundings and was able to talk to his friends as they waited for help. As advised by Mr. Stang, Mr. Perkins buries his face in the snow to numb the pain.
Stang then radioed for help, and it was Mr. Perkins’ brother who answered the call and helped dispatch responders. When help arrived about an hour later, Mr. Perkins was able to enter the helicopter himself.
He was taken first to a hospital in Nome, then to Seattle.
“I’ve helped others my whole life, and I never imagined I would pick things up, but the Nome Brothers, my brothers firefighters, from Seattle, Anchorage, and Nome, have come out to support me and raise money for me and help me through this recovery,” said Mr. Perkins. Newsweek.
Mr. Perkins said in the film that he is now helping families of bear attack victims better understand and guide their recovery process.
” who i am [am] “To be able to do this, you have to tell them it takes steps,” Mr. Perkins says in the documentary about the family of a survivor who contacted him. “If he’s alive now, he’ll be fine. And so, just to confirm that eventually you’ll have a more or less normal life.”
Perkins also said that although his journey has not been easy, he is still seeing improvements and reaching milestones even a decade after the attack.
” I am [now] Able to swallow a full-sized vitamin that I couldn’t swallow five months ago, I would choke on it.