Eton pupil killed by polar bear: 17-year-old boy on £4,000 adventure trip is mauled to death as he sleeps in Arctic tent

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Corpse: Rescuers haul away the dead polar bear after it ripped through a tent and killed a 17-year-old British camper in Norway

An Eton schoolboy sleeping in a tent was mauled to death by a polar bear yesterday.
Horatio Chapple, 17, was on a £4,000 adventure holiday on a remote glacier near the Arctic Circle.

He suffered terrible injuries to the head and upper body in the early-morning attack.

Four other members of the party were badly hurt as the animal rampaged around the campsite hunting for food. It was eventually shot dead.

Tragic: Horatio Chapple was killed by a polar bear whilst he was sleeping at a campsite in Norway

A trip-wire system which triggers a charge to scare away polar bears failed to activate, the father of one of the survivors said.

Terry Flinders, from Jersey, said the bear burst into the tent where his 16-year-old son Patrick lay, killing Horatio next to him. He said Patrick punched the polar bear on the nose in a desperate attempt to save his life. He escaped with head and arm injuries.

Battle with the bear: An aerial view of the camp shows the four tents with the dead polar bear in the middle of the site having been killed by the group during the struggle

Two trip leaders, Michael Reid and Andrew Ruck, who are in their late twenties and Scott Smith, 17, also suffered head injuries.

They were undergoing surgery last night.

As the party came under attack, they made a frantic call for help using a satellite phone and scrambled helicopters to the glacier, which has no road access during the summer.

Tragic: The group of young explorers from the British Schools Exploring Society aged between 16 and 25 pose for a photograph days before the attack

Svalbard’s vice-governor, Lars Erik Alfheim, said: ‘After we got the call we sent helicopters as fast as we could. When we got there we found serious injuries.’

The victims were part of a part of 80-strong group of mainly 16-to-23-year-olds on a five-week British Schools Exploring Society (BSES) trip. They were camping in the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.

Survivors: Andy Ruck, left, and Mike Reid, right, were among the four people injured by the polar bear

Survivor: 16-year-old Patrick Flinders from Jersey was also injured in the polar bear attack

Hopes: A small group of the teenagers pose at the airport before flying to Norway for the trip

Attack: One of the victims of the polar bear attack is carried from a helicopter in Longyearbyen yesterday

Grim news: Chairman of BSES (British Schools Exploring Society) Edward Watson reads out a statement regarding the death of Horatio Chapple

Remote: The polar bear attack happened on the Svalbard islands north of Norway

Fearsome: An adult polar bear is one of few species that will actively hunt humans

Scientists say there are 22,000 to 27,000 polar bears in the world, 60 per cent of them in Canada. They also live in Alaska, Russia, Greenland and Norway.

The species - Ursus maritimus - is now considered 'vulnerable', as the total number of polar bears has fallen to 25,000. However, hunting restrictions have helped the population to stabilise.

The animal is a formidable swimmer, and can swim up to 100 miles in one go through the icy waters of the Arctic.

The world's most famous polar bear was Knut, who was raised by keepers at the Berlin Zoo but died earlier this year.

source: dailymail

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