Pocket knife saves Canadian man during grizzly bear attack

A Canadian man may have lost his life if it wasn't for a small pocket knife with a two-inch blade, and five forestry workers.

Colin Dowler was exploring potential hiking routes on Mount Doogie Dowler in the remote backcountry of British Columbia, around 300km (185 miles) north of Vancouver, when he encountered a grizzly bear.

Initially, he had no cause for concern, being aware that most bears prefer to avoid human contact. Indeed, according to provincial conversation officers, unprovoked bear attacks are very rare.

This, however, did not conspire to be the case for Dowler and his grizzly bear.

bear Credit: Getty

Dowler was around 100ft (30 metres) from the bear, something he deemed to be "too close in my opinion" during a conversation with the BBC from his hospital bed.

Instead of walking away, the bear came towards him at a natural pace. The man proceeded to grab one of his hiking poles to act as "some semblance of a deterrent".

"There was a point - I was scared the whole time - but I thought, 'Man, it would be cool to be catching this on video," he continued to the BBC.

The bear reportedly kept approaching the man until it "made a hard turn to the left" to get behind him, at which point Dowler went from "uncomfortable to wildly uncomfortable".

Things took a turn for the worse as the grizzly kept coming towards him with "methodical, heavy swats", and as they got progressively heavier, Dowler threw his bike towards it. And that's when the bear reportedly lunged, biting deep into his abdomen.

bear Credit: Getty

"It was so much pain and weirdness, I could feel the hot blood," Dowler said. "I'm being rag-dolled, suspended by my flank by a bear carrying me."

The bear dropped him near a ditch around 50ft away, and began biting deep into his thighs. After attempting to gouge at its eyes, and playing dead, Dowler reached for a pocket knife and aimed for the grizzy's neck. After drawing blood, the bear let go, and retreated.

The man used the blade to cut off one of his sleeves to act as a tourniquet, and cycled around 7km (4.5 miles) to a logging camp, where he collapsed.

It was there where Dowler's luck turned: five men in the camp were trained in first aid. "They just went to work, doing their best to save my life," the man told the publication. "They're truly the heroes of the story because there's no way I would have made it without [them]."

The men called an air ambulance where paramedics proceeded to give him a blood transfusion. He was then flown to a hospital in Vancouver, where he continues to recover.

After the incident, provincial conservation officers found and put down the bear.