Personal Lives

Even an AK-47 wouldn't have helped him during polar bear attack, says recovering lawyer


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A Maine lawyer who was attacked by a polar bear in a Canadian national park while camping with a Sierra Club group last month continues to recover from what a physician on the trip initially expected to be fatal injuries.

However, in response to those who wondered whether it wouldn’t have been better for the group to rely on an armed bear guard, as park officials recommend, rather than an electrified fence set around the perimeter of their campground, Matthew Dyer said a gun wouldn’t have helped, reports the Morning Sentinel.

“Even if I had had an AK-47 in my tent, I never would have had time to use it,” he told the newspaper. “I was saved by a lot of good luck and brave companions.”

Dyer, who works for Pine Tree Legal Assistance, is continuing to recover at Montreal General Hospital, where he is expected to have jaw surgery.

Fellow camper Dr. Richard Isenberg told KPHO that he didn’t expect Dyer to survive after seeing a 1,000-pound bear carry the attorney 50 yards by sinking its teeth in his head and neck. Members of the group scared it away by firing flare guns at the animal, then waited for hours for rescuers to arrive in the remote Torngat Mountains National Park in Labrador as polar bears prowled not far away.

“Matt is a very lucky man because the kind of wounds he had. He should have been dead 10 times over,” said Isenberg, who is credited with saving Dyer’s life with emergency treatment. “He didn’t have any scratches on his feet or legs. That bear never let him touch the ground.”

See also: “Critically injured by polar bear, lawyer will survive to tell vacation stories, his wife predicts”

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