Lifestyle & Belief

Teen, Patrick Flinders, tells of polar bear attack


A polar bear has reportedly killed one person and injured four others in an attack on a British tourist group in Norway. The bears are common in the area and present a serious threat, hence warning signs like this one outside the Norwegian arctic town of Longyearbyen.


Daniel Sannum Lauten

Teenager Patrick Flinders, who was mauled by a polar bear in the Norwegian Arctic earlier this month, told his story for the first time Sunday.

A 550-pound male polar bear attacked multiple sleeping teenagers including Flinders, 16, at a camp site of young British boys on August 5. They were at a remote Von Postbreen glacier near Longyearbyen, the Guardian reports.

Flinders fought back and punched the bear in the head. However, the bear clamped down on Flinders' head and left fragments of his teeth in the teen's skull.

Earlier in GlobalPost: One killed as polar bear attacks British campers in Norway

"It hit me with its paw and my arm came out of my sleeping bag. Then I felt its teeth around my elbow, biting down on the bone," he told the Sunday Mirror newspaper.

"I looked up and saw its huge mouth snapping. All around its nose there was blood. At that moment I thought I might die."

The bear killed one of the other teenagers, Horatio Chapple, 17, whose funeral was held this weekend.

Flinders said he could hear the bear "crunching my skull" as it clamped down on his head.

He has had to have 20 staples on his skull and has a number of injuries including on his left eye, which is now twisted. He underwent an operation earlier this month to remove pieces of bone and teeth from his skull, the Telegraph reported.

Here is a photograph in the Guardian of the teenager.

"I imagine the horrors of seeing his friend savaged and killed by a polar bear just inches away will play through his mind time and time again," his father, Terry Flinders, told the Telegraph. "It would be bad enough for an adult, let alone a young lad."

One of the group's expedition leaders eventually shot and killed the bear, but not before Chapple had died and three others were seriously injured.