ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The bearded, sandy-haired geologist was on a job in the remote Alaska wilderness when a grizzly bear suddenly emerged from the brush just yards away.

So Robert Miller did what he was trained to do — he fell to the ground, clasped his hands around his neck to protect it and played dead.

The bear wandered away and Miller thought he was in the clear. Pulling himself to his knees, he found out how wrong he was.

The bear charged again and “this time he didn’t want me to move. He was really thrashing me around,” the 54-year-old said Wednesday from his hospital bed, his right arm and leg swathed in bandages, his left ear criss-crossed by stitches.

Miller had been out scoping possible mining projects Sunday for his employer, Millrock Resources Inc., in a remote valley of the Alaska Range mountains. He’d finished for the day and was waiting for a helicopter to pick him up.

When the bear stepped into the clearing “he didn’t snarl and stand up and show me how big he was. He just came for me,” Miller said.

Miller managed to pull out his .357 Magnum revolver and squeeze off a shot, possibly grazing the animal. Then he fell onto his stomach, dug his face into the dirt and covered his neck.

The bear went for his exposed right arm, gnawing and clawing it and chipping the bone off the tip of his elbow. The attack lasted 10 to 15 seconds, then the animal lumbered away.

As Miller rolled over and was getting to his knees, the bear, only about 40 yards away, came at him again.

He managed to fire two more shots, but with his right arm badly injured he thinks he missed the bear. Then he lay still as the animal gnawed and clawed at him.

After the second attack, Miller played dead again, lying still for three to five minutes. He tried to move and realized he couldn’t. He was too badly injured.

“I was just hoping my radio was still in my vest pocket and it was,” he said. “I got it out and started radioing mayday, which nobody answered.”

About 20 minutes passed before the helicopter’s voice came over the radio and Miller told him what had happened.

“He came in low, just doing outwardly expanding circles to make sure there was no bear around,” Miller said.

Miller was taken by medical helicopter on the more than hour-long trip to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

In his hospital bed , Miller gingerly touched what he thought were bite marks just above his buttocks on his left side. His right arm was heavily bandaged from bicep to wrist; another bulky bandage encased his right thigh, which the bear had chewed from the back of his leg to the front.

Miller’s face was unscathed except for a few scratches, but the bear nearly ripped off his left ear.