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I fought a polar bear with my bare hands as beast tried to eat my granddaughter – I’m lucky to be alive

A GRANDAD was savaged by a polar bear as he heroically defended his granddaughter from being eaten.

Oleg Laptander, 55, battled the beast with his bare hands when it pounced on him after entering his tent in Yamal Peninsula, north-western Siberia.

Oleg Laptander, 55, was savaged by a polar bear

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Oleg Laptander, 55, was savaged by a polar bearCredit: East2West
The bear clawed at his body and sank its razor sharp teeth into his head.

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The bear clawed at his body and sank its razor sharp teeth into his head.Credit: East2West
The beast clawed at him and bit his head. Stock picture

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The beast clawed at him and bit his head. Stock picture

The reindeer herder poked his head out of the tent on Thursday, only to come face-to-face with the giant creature.

He quickly retreated and ordered his wife and granddaughter, five, to flee as he distracted the raging animal.

The bear clawed at his body and sank its razor sharp teeth into his head.

Oleg’s wife and little granddaughter were also swiped at by the bear as they bolted through another exit in the tent.

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But just as Oleg’s hopes of being saved began to fade, his friend and other herders heard the commotion and rushed to his aid.

They frantically distracted the bear, which fled.

Oleg was raced to hospital in Salekhard, Russia, from the scene close to the sea on the remote Yamal peninsula, above the Arctic Circle.

He has thanked his brave friend for stepping in to help.

Oleg in intensive care in Salekhard: “That’s why I’m alive now.

“It was Igor who took a blow, lured the animal to him.

“My granddaughter [was with us] – our grandchildren often visit us.

“There has never been a polar bear here before.

“We slept and I went outside in the morning and immediately saw the beast.

“And he immediately [went for me].”

Oleg is now in a stable condition in hospital after losing a lot of blood.

His wife and granddaughter also are also being cared for in hospital as they are suffering from “psychological trauma”.

Surgeon Ivan Boystov said the girl and her grandmother were “absolutely stable, with minor injuries to the back and upper limbs”.

They are vaccinated against infection from the bear. 

The medic said Oleg had “lost a lot of blood” but was recovering well. 

Polar bears typically hunt seals for food and attacks on humans are rare, but when they do happen, they are often fatal.

It comes after a woman and child died after being savaged by a polar bear in Alaska.

The beast started chasing people in a remote village before it was shot dead by a local resident.

Meanwhile, Johan Jacobus Kootte, 38, a Dutch national, was killed by the bloodthirsty beast at Longyearbyen on the Norwegian island of Svalbard in 2020.

It was reported that Johan, who was a seasonal worker on the island, was taken from his tent as he slept at 4am.

He was reportedly still alive when rescuers found him but he later died from his horrific injuries.

And in 2011 a bear attacked a group of 14 people who were camping as part of a British school trip. 

A 17-year-old British student, Horatio Chapple of Salisbury, Wilts was killed after the beast forced its way into his tent.

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Four others were injured before the animal was killed.

Oleg is recovering in hospital following the attack on Thursday

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Oleg is recovering in hospital following the attack on ThursdayCredit: East2West
The beast found its way into Oleg's tent

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The beast found its way into Oleg’s tentCredit: East2West


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