An Alaska man says he feels lucky to be alive after coming face-to-face with a brown bear and surviving its terrifying attack.
Kenny Steck, his wife Hannah and six family members were hiking in Southeastern Alaska May 13 when he encountered the predator while filling up water bottles. Steck, an experienced outdoorsman, had left his bear repellent back at camp.
The massive animal then came charging at him.
"It was a feeling of complete hopelessness and helplessness, really. I felt like I couldn't do anything to make it stop or make the outcome change," he told ABC News today.
When Steck lifted his leg up to protect himself, the bear clawed it.
He tried yelling, but the bear crushed his shoulder and put Steck's head in his mouth.
"All I could do was just hope and pray," he said. "It was terrifying."
Then suddenly the bear let go and ran away.
Luckily, his wife and three other family members on the trip are nurses and were able to treat his wounds right away.
Steck suffered injuries to his leg, shoulder and head, but the bear miraculously avoided his skull, his wife Hannah said. He's expected to make a full recovery.
"We consider it a miracle," Hannah told ABC News.
"It wasn't Kenny's time to go last Friday," she said. "We don't understand it. ... But we are really thankful for it."
This was the third bear mauling reported to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game so far this year, Ken Marsh, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, told ABC News. All three incidents have involved brown bears or grizzly bears, Marsh said.