Sue Aikens is best known for starring on Life Below Zero. But little do some fans know that she once survived a brutal bear attack.
Several years on from the traumatic event, Susan continues to grace the Arctic and keep a smile on her face, while she survives in the wild.
Those living in remote areas of Alaska – such as Sue – are faced with minus-60 degree days and a battle for basic necessities.
We explored the horrifying bear attack that made Sue the person she is today, and how she managed to escape the animal alive…
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Sue Aiken’s bear attack story
Sue was mauled by a grizzly bear several years ago, when working at the isolated Kavik plane refuelling station, which she runs alone in Alaska.
She was not found for ten days afterwards, and suffered dislodged hips as a result. Some might say she was half dead for those days.
Both of her hips had actually come out of their sockets, but that’s not the only pain Sue suffered… She also had bite marks in her skull.
The event highlights her incredible strength, as she was forced to treat her own wounds and go back out to kill the bear. Then, she had no choice but to lie in her cabin and recover until medical help arrived.
She told Yahoo News:
I knew I had a juvenile male that was trying to take over my territory. I had no clue. I looked and looked. At the time that he attacked me, I was getting my last pumping of water from the Kavik River before it froze solid. And to do that, I have to put the pump in the river. So I glanced around, glanced around, looked, didn’t see him anywhere. I had to set the rifle down to pick up the pump and get it in the water. And he ended up hiding in a little bit of the cut bank and snatched me up.
How Sue survived the brutal event
After being pounced on and dragged across the ground by the bear, and feeling its teeth sink into her skull, most would expect her to have died.
However, Sue’s survival skills kicked in when she had one choice left: play dead and hope that she would not bleed out on the snow.
She didn’t have her usual rifle on her either, as it was lying by a river yards away while the bear mauled at different parts of her body.
And it wasn’t a total shock to Sue, as she revealed the event was something she has spent her life expecting to happen, while living alone in the wild.
Luckily for Sue, the bear dropped back into the river. But if it wasn’t for her quick acting knowledge and experience, she may not be alive today.
She knew she had to sew up her injuries so they would not get infected. Sue was later eventually found, airlifted to hospital where her wounds were treated, and made a full recovery.
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The Life Below Zero star’s life now
The attack didn’t keep Sue away, as she continues to be the sole owner and operator of Kavik River Camp, where the event took place.
She still lives alone, but has some supporters cheering her on: her malamute dogs, two children and three grandkids.
Since the attack, Sue has shared some words of wisdom. She told The Mirror how she looks at life each day:
If you live my lifestyle, you must be comfortable with your own death. I’m not saying I run out and look for it every morning, [but] you make sure you always tell the people you love that you love them, and get on with your life.
With a yearly income from the show standing at $200,000, Sue is also working on another hobby: a movie project as an executive producer.
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