The recent spree-killing in Norway taught us—again, still—that bad things happen to defenseless people. Here’s another reminder [via telegraph.co.uk]. “The four British campers who were attacked by the bear in Svalbard are recovering after surgery in Tromso according to doctors at The University Hospital of Northern Norway. The four persons, they have moderate injuries . . .
Two of them have severe injuries. They have been receiving treatment last afternoon and this night and they are being treated now in Tromso,” said hospital press officer Marit Einejord. 17 year old Horatio Chapple was killed in the attack which occurred when a polar bear entered a tent camp of the British Schools Exploring Society, a youth development charity, some 25 miles (40 km) east of the town of Longyearbyen . . .
Oedegaard said campers normally lay a tripwire around tents before they go to sleep. An emergency flare is triggered if an animal crosses the wire. It was unclear whether the British campers’ wire had worked properly, she said.
“It is not unusual to camp here, but it is necessary to carry weapons,” she said.
According to dailymail.co.uk, the British campers’ did not carry a weapon, nor had a firearm in their tent at the time of the attack. Their electronic trip wire alert system failed. After the bear attacked, a group member in another tent retrieved a shotgun and fired, ending the assault.
The father of Mr Reid spoke of his pride at his son’s bravery. Despite managing to kill the bear, the 29-year-old was left with serious injuries to his head and neck and is still in hospital.
In an email sent from his bed at the University Hospital in Tromso, where the survivors were taken, he told his family how he fired at the bear.
His father, Peter Reid, 65, from Plymouth, said: ‘He told us the bear attacked the tent with three people in it, and he and another leader went to help and were viciously attacked by the bear.
‘He managed to get away, ran to get a gun and shot the bear.’
The Telegraph reports that two Britons suffered the same fate—a failed tripwire and mauling–on the same island one year ago. Lessons learned: check your tripwire (alarm system). And keep your friends close, your shotgun closer.
[NOTE: The original version of this post disparaged the victims of this attack. I apologize for this mis-characterization and pledge to be more careful in the future.]