Reindeer herder ‘covered in blood’ after miraculously fighting off polar bear

A reindeer herder cheated death when he was attacked by a polar bear hiding in a sauna.

Vladimir Sleptsov suffered head, arm and leg injuries during the terrifying fight and miraculously survived.

The 50-year-old had been searching for his reindeer on a snowmobile when the bear and her two cubs suddenly jumped out of the steam sauna, a banya, at a remote seasonal island camp.

The Russain snowmobiler had been looking for his reindeer but recent snowfall meant their trail was lost.

He saw windows smashed in the buildings and food scattered around, he believed a wolverine raided the deserted camp.

“The sauna door was closed, but as it turned out, the bears had dismantled the back wall and got in,” said Sleptsov.

“And at that moment three of them jumped out of this sauna.

“One big, two small, a mother bear with cubs born last year.

“I did not know what to do….”

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The mother polar bear moved aggressively towards him.

Without any weapons and alone and frightened, he saw an iron barrel in the snow and picked it up to throw at the approaching predator – but he missed.

“She rushed at me, struck me with her paw in the chest,” he told REN TV.

“I flew backwards a few metres.

“I got to my feet, she was coming again with a repeat hit.

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“I fell down again and could not get up.

“She was approaching again and I was lying on my back, thinking she will tear my face now.

“I covered up with my arms.

“She bit one arm, then the other."

The dad managed to turn around but the bear trod on him and bit the back of his leg.

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He heard a gruesome noise and saw his blood flowing into the snow.

He thought of his young son – aged nine.

"When she was biting me, I knew that my boy was waiting for me at home. I promised him and I must make it back.”

He said: “I could not scream.

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“I decided to pretend I was dead.

“The bear jumped on me once more, a strong hit into my back. Then again."

Vladimir lost consciousness for a while and the bear believed he was dead. She took her cubs and edged away.

He waited for some time before he drove, whilst seriously wounded, five miles to seek help.

He is expected to remain in hospital for several weeks while he recovers, and as he promised his son, he will be home on December 1.

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