Alaska Bear Attack: Man Wins Fight – Saves Family

Alaska family survives frighting attack by a crazed brown bear

( -- May 1, 2013) Soldotna , AK -- Toby Burke, a wildlife biologist for Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, and his family were attacked by a distressed brown bear Sunday afternoon as they where out birdwatching. The incident happen along the Alaskan Kasilof River Beach which is located 15 miles south of Soldotna..

"We saw the bear in the distance and we said, 'Hey let's not go down there. Let's stay up here,'" Toby Burke told ABC News.

When the bear disappeared into the dunes Toby and his wife and their three young children turned around and continued their hike in the oposite direction. Living in bear country they weren't to worried about the bear at first.

Moments later the bear reappeared and headed directly towards them.

"When the bear was headed towards us, we were like, 'OK, it's do or die now,'" said Toby.

The Burkes raised their arms and made loud noises to scare the bear but continued toward them

When the bear began bounding toward them Toby yelled to his wife and kids to get behind him and not to run.

As the bear attacked Toby stuck his spotting scope attached to a 6-foot long tripod into the bear's mouth. The bear swatted and broke the scope off. Armed now with just the tripod he used it to hit the bear in the face. The bear continued and batted the tripod from his hands.

Then it was just Toby between the bear and his family. "At that point, I made physical contact. All I could do was put my left arm up. Then its mouth clamped down on my forearm. So I remember hitting it in the face with my right arm." said Toby.

After several firghtning moments the clash suddenly ended when the bear gave up and ran off.

Toby Burke sustained only minor injuries due to his heavy layers of clothing protecting him.

The Burkes immediately notified Alaska Wildlife Troopers to warn others on the beach.

"Upon arrival, an investigation revealed a female brown bear was acting erratically by attacking a vehicle, a telephone pole and then, eventually, attack a male walking on the beach," said a news release by the Department of Public Safety.

Two Alaska State Trooper found the bear and dispatched it when it came running out of the woods towards them.

Toby Burke and his family believe their calm, collected reaction was what saved them.

"We weren't terrified only because we always knew it's a reality when you live up here," Burke said. "We knew this day may come one day. Mentally, we were prepared for that."


Steve Shelley


Alaska Bear Attack: Man Wins Fight – Saves Family
Laura Burke (photo)

Top Comments