Warning: Distressing Content
A man mistaken for a mummy was allegedly ‘rescued from a bear den’ after the animal supposedly kept him there for an entire month, however it turns out this viral story may well be false.
The initial version of events was presented to media outlets stating a bear had reportedly broken the man’s spine and tossed him into the back of its lair in Russia’s remote Tuva region in order to save him for a meal at a later date, however a spokesperson at the health ministry in Tuva Republic disputed these details based on medical records.
East2West News reported the spokesperson as saying:
It was not registered by the Ministry of Health, the Emergencies Ministry or any other official body (in the region).
Most probably, it happened somewhere outside Tuva.
The man in the viral video states his name as Alexander, and was alleged to have been found by hunting dogs as he was close to death, before being immediately rushed to hospital.
Alexander reportedly told doctors the large animal had overpowered him and kept him in the den for approximately four weeks. ‘The bear preserved me as food for later’, he was quoted as saying as per The Siberian Times.
The now infamous Alexander could allegedly only remember his first name and did not remember his own age. Early reports suggested he told doctors he drank his own urine to survive, with doctors saying it’s a ‘miracle’ he did not die.
The case was baffling. How could anyone survive such an ordeal? Well, the truth may be the ordeal never took place.
As per The Independent, Alexei Demin, editor of EADaily, said the video of the man came from a single local source, who claimed the video was sent to him by ‘hunter friends via social media.’ Demin clarified his website was waiting for additional details, two days after publication.
Demin also confirmed Tuva’s local police had contacted EADaily with accusations of faking the bear story.
So is Alexander even real? Apparently yes, but the origins of his story are murky at best.
The Sun has reported corrections to the original EADaily story, that links Alexander to a hospital not in Russia, but neighbouring Kazakhstan.
A group known as Zello.poisk researched the video, identifying the language spoken in the background of the footage was not Tuva.
In a post the organisation, who sought to identify whether Alexander was an already known missing person, report the man in question is in a hospital in the Kazakh city of Aktobe.
The post read:
We checked the hospitals (in Aktobe) and asked them to help us.
In the end we discovered that this man (in the ‘bear den’ case) is from our city.
He is being treated in one of the hospitals and is getting better. He is ill. But the doctors said that they will cure him. Of course, how he turned out to be in such state we will never know…
Online fact checkers Snopes have naturally sought to clarify the details, however they too concede details vary wildly on social media. Some suggest a skin condition, some suggest abuse of the drug Krokodil. The only thing that is certain is that the original report of a bear attack is unfounded.
The perils of viral news strike again – UNILAD will continue to monitor developments in this story and report updated facts as they are made available.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
An NCTJ Journalist with an MA in Sports Journalism, Kieron is an experienced social media journalist who has worked in the industry since 2015. His experience includes work with ITN, the MEN, WISH/WIRE/TOWER FM, and 8:50 Sports Digest… not forgetting his time at ASDA.