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Canadian man thwarts polar bear attack with cell phone

A 400-pound bear sinks its teeth into a Manitoba man but apparently gets scared off by a mobile phone's light.

polar bear
Churchill, Manitoba, is known for polar bears.
Wikimedia Commons

Mobile phones are amazing tools -- and sometimes even life savers.

That's what a Canadian man learned over the weekend when he apparently used his cell phone to stop a polar bear attack in Churchill, Manitoba.

Garett Kolsun was walking home alone early Saturday morning when he found himself face to face with a 400-pound polar bear. It cornered him and sank its teeth into his hip. Kolsun seemed doomed until he whipped out his cell phone.

"The bear's nose was inches away from me," he told The Canadian Press.

"I was just (thinking), 'What can I do to get away from this bear?' That's all I kept thinking about. I didn't want to be a stat."

Kolsun, who was pinned against the door of a bakery, powered on his cell phone and turned the screen toward the bear. The light seemed to startle the animal. It took a step back, hit a flower pot, and briefly looked away.

Was the bruin expressing displeasure at Kolsun's choice of phone? He didn't stick around to find out.

Kolsun ran several blocks and eventually found people. By then, the bear had stopped chasing him. Kolsun was treated at a local health center, where his wounds were cleaned and he was given a tetanus shot.

On Monday, he was back at work for the Canadian Border Services Agency, which unfortunately tells CNET he's no longer giving interviews. We would love to know what kind of phone Kolsun was packing.

As for the polar bear, it was captured on Saturday and taken to a bear holding facility in Churchill, a town of about 1,000 people on Hudson Bay that is dubbed the "polar bear capital of the world." Conservation Manitoba was assessing the animal.