The Bhutan Emergency Aeromedical Retrieval (BEAR) team evacuated a man who was mauled by a bear from Buli basic health unit (BHU) in Zhemgang yesterday.

According to the BHU’s health assistant (HA), Bijay Darlami Thapa, the incident happened between 10 and 11am yesterday when the man, who is originally from Thrisa in Upper Kheng but resides in Goling, went to the forest between Goling and Talila.

“The man, in his 50s, has sustained injuries on his face, scalp and hand. He suffered total facial loss but there was no fracture and head injury,” the HA said.

It was learnt that after the bear mauled the man, he walked towards the house of a neighbour, Sonam Phuntsho, who reported him to Yebilaptsa hospital. But since the ambulance from Yebilaptsa hospital was stranded in a fire incident in the locality, health officials asked Buli BHU to rescue the patient.

“The emergency rescue team reached there within an hour after the incident and we gave pressure bandage, injection for tetanus, IV fluid and antibiotics,” Bijay Darlami Thapa said.

He said that the BEAR team, after reaching Buli around 1:58pm, administered blood transfusion to the patient and airlifted him to Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) around 2:40pm. “Since the patient’s condition was critical, they preferred to take him to Thimphu.”

Meanwhile, Zhemgang residents claim that the man went to the forest to collect wild avocado, Sonam Phuntsho said that the man must have gone to a shop to Talila.

He said he could not escort the patient, as the helicopter could only accommodate six people, including the pilot and there were already five people on board. “I am worried about who will look after the patient in JDWNRH.”

Tashi Dema