Cell phones can do a whole lot of things these days, but I bet you didn’t know they can also save your life in the event of a polar bear attack.
Canadian Garett Kolsun must cherish his handset more than most just now, as it was his mobile device that he’s convinced scared off a polar bear during what must have been a terrifying attack in Churchill, Manitoba in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Kolsun told Canada’s CTV News he thought he saw something out of the corner of his eye as he walked along the small town’s main street. The next thing he knew, a 396-pound (180 kg) polar bear was storming towards him.
“The bear’s nose was inches away from me….I didn’t want to be another stat.”
“I started running from it, looking for some place to go and get away from this bear,” Kolsun told CTV. Trouble was, all the businesses were closed, leaving the 40-year-old Canadian Border Services guard with no place to hide.
“I stopped and I turned around to face the bear,” Kolsun explained. “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.”
When the bear pinned Kolsun up against a wall and started taking swipes at him, he knew he had to do something, and fast.
“The bear’s nose was inches away from me,” Kolsun said. “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.”
Cell phone to the rescue
It might not have occurred to most people in Kolsun’s dire situation to dig out their cell phone and wave its lit screen in the bear’s face, but that’s exactly what he did – and the move appeared to save his life.
“I was hoping anything I would do would give me an opportunity to get away from it, I was trying anything at that point,” he said.
The bright screen on the phone, the make of which hasn’t been revealed, apparently startled the bear, causing it to take a step back and allowing Kolsun to break free.
“When it turned its head, I just turned and ran as fast as I could,” he told CTV. Fortunately for the terrified Kolsun, the bear gave up the chase, leaving him to make his way to a local health center where he received treatment for wounds, which included a bite to his body.
The polar bear was later captured and is currently being assessed at a nearby polar bear jail, “a transformed military warehouse with 28 holding cells for stray bears”, CTV reports. Why, you may wonder, is there a polar bear jail in the area – well, Churchill, located on the shore of Hudson Bay, happens to be known as the “polar bear capital of the world” as large numbers of the animal pass through it each year during migration.