Tourist faces off with bear while stranded by flood
Published Wednesday, September 29, 2010 6:15PM PDT
A French tourist was forced to swim across a rushing river and face off with an angry mama grizzly after heavy rains and flooding on B.C.'s central coast left him stranded in the wilderness for five days.
Christophe Massot, 42, is an adventurer who visits ancient forests around the world on bicycle.
During a weekend hike near Bella Coola, the rain became so intense that he turned around to head for town. What he didn't realize was that homes were flooded, a bridge was washed out, and road conditions were deteriorating.
"So I said, ‘OK, I can't stay in the middle of the forest without food, and if there are problems, nobody can see me,'" Massot told CTV News.
The suspension bridge that was his only route back to town was broken.
"I was obliged to go underwater -- swim underwater," Massot said.
He built fires to keep warm and dried whatever clothing he could.
"I spent the night in my tent with my clothing wet and with my blanket wet," he said.
Helicopters were constantly flying overhead, but none of them spotted the stranded Frenchman.
"I tried to make some signals, but they didn't see me."
On day four of the ordeal, a grizzly cub suddenly appeared on the path ahead of him. Seconds later, the cub's mother charged at him.
"You don't think nothing, you just try to escape. It is strange because I knew this bear did not want to attack me," Massot said.
He backed away slowly, speaking softly to the bear. It worked, and the mother backed off.
"I think she was afraid about the weather as well," he said.
On the fifth day, he was finally spotted and rescued.
"For me it was a great adventure and I was really happy to meet the bear," he said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's St. John Alexander