From . ............ Daily News Miner

Fairbanks, AK

May 29, 1994

Panner survives brown bear mauling

SITKA - A Minnesota gold panner sustained a broken arm and puncture wounds after authorities said he was attacked by a brown bear on a remote road near Silver Bay.

David Whipps of Minneapolis was recuperating Friday at Sitka Community Hospital, where he also was being treated for wounds after being scratched by the bear's claws.

Whipps told the Daily Sitka Sentinel he was on his bicycle and defenseless when he crested a hill to see a brown bear in his path, about 100 yards away. He said he stopped, hoping it would amble into the woods. Just then a larger bear approached from 30 yards away and charged.

Whipps said he said he raised his right arm in a defensive move and the bear bit into it, wrenching him off his bike. Suddenly the bear moved on.

"I said, 'Jesus help me,' and immediately the bear just took off."

Whipps managed to walk the 300 yards back to the hatchery for help and was taken to the hospital. Authorities say it was unclear whether Whipps' arm was broken by the strength of the bear's jaws or by the force of being removed from his bike.