Story at a glance

  • An Alaska man who was rescued by the Coast Guard after a series of attacks by a grizzly bear described his ordeal to a local news outlet.
  • “There was no doubt about it: the bear was trying to get into my cabin,” Jessee said.
  • “The big lesson here is that I shouldn’t go out by myself.”

An Alaska man who was rescued by the Coast Guard after a series of attacks by a grizzly bear described his attack to a local news outlet, saying the bear rolled his bike and trailer “over like it was a toy car.” 

“I was in shock and hypothermic,” gold prospector Richard Jessee told the Nome Nugget

Jesse explained that he was on his ATV near a river when the bear first attacked. The bear knocked Jesse’s ATV into the water where the vehicle and his phone both sank. 

Jesse told the outlet he was able to fire a warning shot with his pistol before fleeing to his cabin. 

“There was no doubt about it: the bear was trying to get into my cabin,” he said. “I don’t know why it was so aggressive. Maybe it had cubs nearby.”


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While holed up in his cabin, Jesse formed the letters SOS on with plywood on the roof, which were eventually spotted by the U.S. Coast Guard. Jessee, who has mined in Nome for 21 years, told the paper he is not sure how long he was in the cabin due to shock. 

Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Jared Carbajal told the paper he was piloting a helicopter during a mission near Nome when his co-pilot noticed Jessee. 

“We had no idea he was there. We just happened upon him on our way to another mission,” Carbajal said. “Had he waved with just one hand, we probably would have just kept going. The fact that he waved with both hands over his head is indicative of distress, which is what prompted us to circle around.”

Jessee said the situation taught him a big lesson — he should never go out alone. 

“I’ll never do that again. I’m a very lucky man,” Jessee concluded. 


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Published on Jul 26, 2021