August 05, 2011
Polar Bear Mauls, Kills UK Teen in Norway
By David Maccar
With the list of grizzly and black bear attacks this year steadily growing, we can add polar bears to the mix. While on a British Schools Exploring Society trip in the Norwegian Island of Svalbard, 17-year-old Horatio Chappie of the UK was mauled to death by a polar bear. The bear injured four others in the 12-person party before one of the group members shot and killed it.
From this story on BBCNews:
The four who were hurt - two severely - included two leaders of the trip. They have been flown to Tromsoe in Norway where their condition is stable. BSES chairman Edward Watson described Mr Chapple as a "fine young man".
Mr Watson said the society had been in touch with his family - who live near Salisbury - and had offered "our utmost sympathy".
He said: "Horatio was a fine young man, hoping to go on to read medicine after school. By all accounts he would've made an excellent doctor."
He said the society's executive director was travelling to Svalbard, adding: "We are continuing to gather information on this tragedy." Mr Chapple was studying at Eton College in Berkshire. Geoff Riley, head of teaching and learning technologies at the school paid tribute on Twitter, saying his thoughts and prayers were with his family. The attack, near the Von Post glacier about 25 miles (40km) from Longyearbyen, took place early on Friday.
The group contacted the Svalbard authorities using a satellite phone and a helicopter was sent to rescue them. The bear was shot dead by a member of the group.
The BSES, a youth development charity, said the injured men were trip leaders Michael Reid and Andrew Ruck, who is from Brighton but lives in Edinburgh, and trip members Patrick Flinders from Jersey, and Scott Smith.
The injured were flown to hospital in Longyearbyen and then on to University Hospital in Tromso, Norway. They suffered head injuries but are now stable, Norwegian authorities said. The father of Patrick Flinders, Terry, said he believed the polar bear had crossed a trip wire and into his son's tent.
"According to the doctor and the other people Patrick was trying to fend off the polar bear by hitting it on the nose - why, I don't know, but he did and... the polar bear attacked him with his right paw across his face and his head and his arm," he said. Those worried about their relatives should call 0047 7902 4305 or 0047 7902 4302.
...Lars Erik Alfheim, vice-governor of Svalbard, said polar bears were common in the area.
"These days when the ice comes in and out like it does right now, it's not unlikely to encounter polar bears. Polar bears are extremely dangerous and it's an animal that can attack without any notice."
The BSES group of 80 people were on a trip which began on 23 July and was scheduled to run until 28 August.