A man whose face was ripped off by a grizzly bear didn’t receive much sympathy from viewers after appearing on This Morning.
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby looked visibly disturbed as 60-year-old Lee Brooke told the tale of how his nose and upper lip were torn away by a 30-stone female bear.
Lee had to undergo extensive procedures, including one 24-hour long operation. He spent several months in hospital following the gruesome attack, with his face being reconstructed using skin grafts from his leg. Metal screws and plates have been placed in his head.
And there is still a long road to go, with doctors currently planning on rebuilding his ravaged nose and upper lip.
However, the circumstances under which Lee received his agonising injuries has provoked fury among some This Morning viewers.
Lee had been out hunting elk alongside his brother-in-law and two friends up in the mountains close to Wyoming. He had shot an elk dead and went to collect the carcass when he realised it had already been claimed by a mother bear and her cubs.
According to Lee, the enraged bear took him by surprise:
The adrenaline rush came and I forgot that there are bears on the mountain and they had claimed the kill.
I turned around to walk away and as I turned I saw a mother grizzly bear and a cub on either side of her coming my way and before I could take two steps, she grabbed my backpack and jerked me off my feet.
What we managed to recreate afterwards was that she slapped me and knocked me out and then mauled me down the mountain – about 50 yards. I woke up and she was sniffing me on the cheek.
You can watch Lee discuss his nightmare ordeal below:
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Faced with almost certain death, Lee lashed out at the enormous bear, leading her to bite down on his arm.
He thrust his arm further down her throat to try and trigger a gag reflex before stabbing the animal repeatedly in the head.
Lee managed to escape with his life and doctors were able to stitch his severed nose to his arm.
However, not everyone was impressed by Lee’s gory story of survival, with some describing it as being ‘poetic justice’ or ‘Karma’.
One person commented: ‘Don’t go hunting in the first place, that poor bear was in it’s [sic] natural habitat foraging for food; as bears do. I actually feel sorry for the poor bear. Penalised for doing what bears do’.
Another said: ‘Sorry but can’t help but feel more sorry for the grizzly bear feeling threatened with her two little cubs than this bloke hunting who has his nose ripped off’.
Strangely, this near death experience hasn’t put Lee off hunting elk, and he has since made two trips back out to the mountains during August and September.
"A grizzly bear ripped my face off".
Don't go hunting in the first place, that poor bear was in it's natural habitat foraging for food; as bears do. I actually feel sorry for the poor bear. Penalised for doing what bears do :/ #thismorning
— Danielle Hull (@Danielle_v1) November 28, 2017
@thismorning the fella on the show now was hunting animals then got his face ripped off by a grizzly bear so the hunter becomes the hunted ..poetic justice in my opinion
— Paul bradley (@PaulBradley8t4) November 28, 2017
— Rachael norris (@Rach_norris11) November 28, 2017
Sorry but can’t help but feel more sorry for the grizzly bear feeling threatened with her two little cubs than this bloke hunting who has his nose ripped off. ??♀️ #thismorning
— Megan (@meganpeers) November 28, 2017
Heartless maybe,but the guy who had his face ripped off by a grizzly bear whilst hunting elk, possibly had it coming to him. Oh yeah, he stabbed the bear as well. #ThisMorning
— Chris A (@westywaldo) November 28, 2017
This story really has divided opinion…
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.