Skip to main content

Locked in a death grip

Blain Pharis has good friends. The 52-year-old resident of Victoria,British Columbia, was fishing coho salmon in Port Renfrew about 62 miles northwest of the mainland Wednesday when a black bear ran up an adjacent jetty and jumped into his boat, according to the Calgary Herald. As it pinned him down, five friends nearby attacked the bear with gaffs, fishing knives and a hammer until the creature died, finally releasing Pharis.

“He was pinned on the floor, the bear had a good hold of him and was biting and shaking him,” says Pharis’s friend Bruce Miller, 40, who was the first to stab the animal with his gaff and 5-inch spike. “I figured [Pharis] was dead in seconds.”

Pharis tried appeasing the bear with the salmon he caught before it struck, but to no avail. Miller got onboard and kept sinking the gaff into the bear’s neck as it continued to pin down Pharis, and another man joined the fight with his gaff. Two more men witnessing the struggle came on board with a knife and a hammer. Then a fifth man came and started stabbing the bear with his fishing knife. Throughout the struggle, the bear kept his grip on Pharis’s shoulder, never flinching for an instant throughout the attacks, according to the report. Finally, the bear died, releasing Pharis.

The fellow fishermen helped dispose of the bear and get Pharis back to land, where he was able to walk off the boat and into the ambulance truck, which arrived about 25 minutes later to take him to a nearby hospital. Though he has lots of puncture wounds, Pharis is recovering, according to the report.

— Elizabeth Ellis