Spine-chilling last moments of couple eaten by bear captured in harrowing audio

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When air taxi pilot Willy Fulton arrived at Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard's camp in the Alaskan forest to collect them after a bear studying expedition, he was greeted by a unimaginably chilling sight.

All was eerily quiet as "the meanest bear", sitting atop a pile of human remains, feasted on a ribcage.

With no sign of the couple, he worriedly called Katmai National Park rangers. It didn't take Joe Ellis and his colleagues long to figure out what kind of carnage had played out in the camp.

Tim and Amie’s tents had been collapsed, with evidence of someone – or something – tearing them. An evening meal had been laid out, untouched. Shoes remained outside the door.

Then their worst fears were confounded by a truly horrifying image.

A mound of grass roughly 3ft high, with mud and twigs sticking out lay yards from one of the tents. On closer inspection, it became clear that human fingers and an arm were also protruding.

Even grislier still, the severed and mauled head of Tim was found nearby, connected to a small piece of spine. His right arm, detached from his body, with his wrist watch attached.

They didn't have to work much harder to join the dots.

Tim, 46, had unwittingly recorded the entire bloody scene on his video camera.

The self-styled 'Grizzly Man' had spent 13 summers camping out with wild brown bears in Alaska. He was so comfortable around the deadly creatures that he gave them names and considered them friends.

He was even known to make physical contact.

A former heroin addict and alcoholic, he had spoken about his disdain for modern civilisation and how he was much happier in the wild with the bears than he was with people in towns and cities.

He was also a dedicated filmmaker and always recorded his encounters with bears and this occasion was no different.

The footage of this final encounter in October 2003 was found in the camera after his death.

He hadn't removed the lens cap, but the microphone was still running and the distressing six-minute attack was caught on audio.

At the beginning Amie is heard asking if the bear is still out there before Tim screams: “Get out here! I’m getting killed out here!”

She is then heard shouting for her boyfriend to "play dead" as she opens the tent and runs to help him.

Next there's silence as her tactics and presence seem to help and the bear releases Tim. But it lasts only a few seconds and the bear resumes its deadly assault, presumably clasping his head in its jaws and dragging him away.

Tim, the terror in his voice clear to all, screams for Amie, 37, to "hit the bear" while she urges him to "fight back".

She attacks the bear with a frying pan before Tim's frantic screams turn to waning moans. Amie's spine-chilling screams are the last things heard before the tape cuts out.

The bear remains silent throughout the ordeal.

When the bear was found and shot dead, investigators recovered four bin bags full of human remains from its stomach.

The 1,000-pound, 28-year-old male, had apparently struggled to feed that season due to his age and broken teeth.

Park rangers later said Californian Tim was lucky to have survived as long as he did. One suggested that the bears were so confused by his direct, casual contact that they were not sure how to react to him.

The attack was the subject of award-winning documentary The Grizzly Man by Werner Herzog.

The 2005 film included Tim's own footage of his interactions with brown bears and interviews with people he knew.

Some of the last footage recorded by Tim, hours before his death, included a clip of a bear diving into the river for a piece of salmon.

In the footage Tim admits he doesn't feel comfortable around this particular bear.

Herzog speculates on whether it was the very bear who killed him.

What's more, the couple had been due to fly home earlier but decided to return to their camp for an extra week after a mixup with their flight tickets home.

The documentary also revealed how Amie was terrified of the bears and thought her boyfriend was "hellbent on destruction".

She’d told Tim the trip would be her last and had a new job waiting for her back in California. In the end, neither made it back alive from Alaska after that fateful October evening.

The recording of the couple's final moments remains under lock and key in possession of one of Tim's closest friends.

Herzog's advice: people should "never listen to this".

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