Canadian Man Evades Furious Polar Bear with Cellphone

As a last resort, Garett Kolsun pulled out his phone

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Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Things not to do if you’re being chased by a bear: run (no one’s fast enough), charge and tackle the bear (that would be insane), or whip out your cellphone and start fiddling with it — or, well, consider the latter “don’t” up for debate, because a Winnipeg man apparently did just that to escape an angry polar bear.

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Garett Kolsun was out for a walk in Churchill, Manitoba in the wee morning hours, reports CBC, when he noticed a polar bear “running full tilt” towards him. He says he immediately looked for a place to run for safety, but since he was in an industrial area without homes “there was no place to really go.”

And so he did the only thing he could and stood his ground (good), confronting the bear head-on (a little less good), screaming at it and waving his arms in hopes of scaring it away (not a good idea at all, according to PBS).

“I kept running in circles and backwards and yelling, hollering for help and everything else,” Kolsun told CBC. But the bear kept advancing, so he next tried kicking open a bakery door — to no avail, because Kolsun says at that point the bear was “basically right on top of me.”

That’s when he somehow had presence of mind to pull his cellphone out, turn it on, then face the lit screen toward the bear, prompting it to step back and knock over a plant. The plant startled the bear and got it to turn its head, giving Kolsun a chance to flee, which he did. After making it to a lit home, he traveled to the local hospital where he was examined for minor injuries, including scratches to his chest and puncture wounds on his hip where the bear was able to bite through his clothes.

The moral of the story?

“When you’re in Churchill, take a cab,” Kolsun told CBC. “Or drive. Don’t walk after dark.”

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