Mike Polocz: “We watched helplessly as Momma bear decided to abandon this struggling cub in a whirlpool. It took about 15 minutes before we were lucky enough to pull him out of the current. This little guy was completly teriffied, however upon making it to shore he let out one more cry for mom and we heard her coming back for him.”
Mike Polocz, his son Dustin Klepacki, and friend Charlie Mettile, went trout fishing along the upper Kenai River in Alaska Saturday when they noticed a mother bear and her two cubs hunting salmon in the river.
Later they discovered a 50-pound baby bear was stuck in a whirlpool in the Kenai River. At first the fisherman tried to extend a fishing net on a boom to the bear, but the bear tried to grab the net and climb into the boat. The fishermen soon learned what a lifeguard is taught early in training — a terrified victim will pull the rescuer down and even drown the rescuer in an attempt to keep their own head above water. Lifeguards are taught to sneak up on victims from behind underwater and embrace the victim in a modified bear hug and swim them to shore. The fishermen improvised and pushed the bear out of the whirlpool into a current that headed toward while being careful not to get caught in a current themselves. Eventually they nudged the terrified baby bear to shore.
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