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Man survives bear attack

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Saturday, September 21, 2013, 6:02 PM -

A Rhode Island man says it is a miracle he is alive after a hunting trip in Alaska nearly turned fatal. 

John Matson, 46, was mauled by a grizzly bear earlier this month during a guided bear hunt near Beaver Mountain. 

"His first bite was the end of by gun barrel and he ripped it out of my hands and at that point I knew I was in trouble," recalled Matson. "I was on my back from when he pulled the gun out of my hands and I put my feet up in the air as he lunged down forward at me. He bit me in my upper thigh and from there, he lifted his head he went for my stomach. And then from there, I was lucky enough to get one hand over my head and he bit me twice on the top of my head." 

Matson says that if it were not for his two hunting partners, he may have not survived. 

"We started shooting over the bear thinking that maybe it would break his focus if only for a moment and either it was coincidental or that worked, but the bear dropped John," said one the hunting partners, Steve Persson. 

Matson was attacked about 90 minutes after first wounding the bear. 

Poor weather conditions delayed the rescue for about 24-hours. 

His partners say they used clothing to wrap Matson's profusely bleeding head and took care of him the best they could until the Alaska Air National Guard team was able to reach them with a helicopter. 

"We made the best of a situation and I had two friends fortunate enough there to save my life," Matson said. 

With files from The Associated Press

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