Alaskan Bush People Son Matt Injured & Evacuated Out of Rural Alaska After Explosion: 'I Got Careless'
Alaskan Bush People is a reality series that’s never shy of dramatic moments, but one of the most shocking situations faced by the Brown family occurred while cameras weren’t rolling.
Eldest son Matt Brown, 34, was alone in Brownton approximately two months ago when an explosion raised red flags for the show’s production team, who had gone home for the day hours earlier.
“We got a medic on the way. We’re on the way right now,” a production member is heard saying on Wednesday’s episode of ABP.
When the crew arrives, they find Matt — who was at the family’s rural Alaskan homestead alone while the rest of his family is in Southern California to be with mom Ami as she fights lung cancer — bleeding from the head. (Footage from that moment aired in a preview clip PEOPLE ran exclusively in June.)
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“This is bad, man. He doesn’t look good. Safety, prep for an evac[uation,]” says a production member as Matt is heard screaming “Oh my God!”
The on-site examination reveals a possible skull fracture. Fearing that swelling and loss of blood could cause severe trauma to the brain, paramedics order an immediate evacuation.
As he’s being carried away by the evacuation team, Matt cracks a joke: “I lost a little bit of blood, didn’t I?” “A little bit,” a paramedic responds.
In Southern California, the rest of the family expresses concern for Matt, who revealed he’d entered rehab for alcohol abuse in 2016.
“I don’t know what happened. I know that Matt was alone in Brownton and I can only imagine how heavy that must have been and the kind of mindset that would put you in,” says younger brother Bam. “I don’t want to speculate. I just know that he was trying to keep up a strong, brave front for everybody and I think he just cracked a little bit.”
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“I definitely feel for him because of everything he’s been through in the last couple of years, but also mom going through such an intense, emotional battle of cancer. If anything actually happened to him, it would be horrible,” continues Bam. “It would be devastating for everybody here. It’s a lot to deal with.”
“He was probably feeling so much stress that he wasn’t thinking clearly at all,” adds baby sister Rain. “I feel bad that we put so much on his shoulders because no one should ever do anything alone.”
Matt is airlifted to a hospital in Juneau, where he is placed in intensive care. A few days later he arrives in Southern California and reveals to Bam that doctors used nine staples to close the wound on his scalp.
“The bears were really bad. I just got overly paranoid in the situation and took it a little too far,” he tells his brother of detonating an improvised bear deterrent made of black powder. (The bears near their home had become increasingly comfortable with entering the property while the family was away.)
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“You were a little too zealous with the gun powder,” says Bam. “You very easily could have bled out or not woken up.”
“I remember bits and flashes like right afterwards grabbing a towel and the tape. I remember taping it to my face as blood ran down my face,” says Matt. “Bits and pieces of the paramedics. It was more like a nightmare. Essentially what happened is I got careless. I was alone on my island and there were bears around. I take things 90 miles an hour and I don’t really think about it before just jumping there. And I took it upon myself … I didn’t realize I could hurt myself and in turn hurt everyone else.”
“I’ve gone through all this, bro. It’s a lesson: life is fragile,” continues Matt. “The bush’s rule one, the moment you take your mind off everything, is the one that it get — and it got me.”
“It didn’t get you,” responds Bam. “It almost got you. You survived and that’s the important part.”
Alaskan Bush People airs Wednesdays (at 9 p.m. ET) on Discovery.