Polar bear chase: Garett Kolsun, 40, of Churchill in Manitoba, Canada was walking home on Saturday (September 7) morning after celebrating the end of the work week with some friends, when he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. When he got a good look at what it was, he realized it was a polar bear, and it was charging directly toward him.
Kolsun told The Globe and Mail "I turned and looked, and it was a polar bear charging toward me. I started running from it, looking for some place to go and get away from this bear."
However, all the stores in town were closed at that hour, leaving Kolsun with nowhere to hide.
"I stopped and I turned around to face the bear," he said. "It was already there, right on top of me. I started shouting, yelling, screaming, waving my arms, running backwards to keep my eye on the bear."
Kolsun said the bear, which he believes was still young because of its size, ended trapping him on the porch of a bakery. The polar bear, which stood about 1 ½ meters tall, pinned Kolsun against the door and swiped at him with his paw. It also took a bite out of Kolsun's hip, although at the time Kolsun didn't even realize the bear's teeth had broken skin.
"The bear's nose was inches away from me. I didn't know where else to go. I was just [thinking], 'What can I do to get away from this bear?' That's all I kept thinking about. I didn't want to be a stat."
Desperate, Kolsun searched his pocket and pulled out his cellphone, which he turned on and shone the light of the screen at the bear, startling the beast.
"I was hoping anything I would do would give me an opportunity to get away from it," Kolsun said. "I was trying anything at that point. I was screaming, yelling, waving my arms, trying everything and it just kept chasing me and chasing me. I was just hoping for the best and, luckily, it worked."
The bear took a step back, hitting a flower pot on the porch, which distracted it for a moment. That moment was all Kolsun needed to get away.
"When it turned its head," he said, "I just turned and ran as fast as I could."
Kolsun said he kept running for several blocks until he happened upon some people sitting on a deck. As Kolsun ran toward the group, he turned and realized the polar bear was gone.
"The bear had stopped chasing me some place along the way there," he said.
Kolsun's wounds were treated and bandaged at the local health center. He was also given a tetanus shot and released several hours later. By Monday morning, Kolsun was already back to work as a Canadian Border Services guard.
"I was definitely very lucky," he said. "He could have hurt me worse."
Officials managed to capture the polar bear later on Saturday, and took it to Churchill's provincial polar bear jail, which is a transformed military warehouse with 28 holding cells for stray bears.
The animal is being assessed, according to Conservation Manitoba.
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