Conservation and wildlife
(Fox News, 5 August 2011) -- VON POSTBREEN, Norway - A polar bear attacked a group of British students camping on a remote Arctic glacier as part of a high-end adventure holiday, killing a 17-year-old boy and injuring four other young people Friday before a trip member fatally shot the bear. Two were hospitalized with severe injuries, according to the British Schools Exploring Society, the organizer of the trip. The attack took place on the Svalbard archipelago, which is home to about 2,400 people and 3,000 polar bears and attracts well-off and hardy tourists with stunning views of snow-covered mountains, fjords and glaciers. The British Schools Exploring Society is affiliated with Britain's Royal Geographic Society and has run expeditions for young people to remote and challenging corners of the globe for at least 75 years. Expedition members were spending three to five weeks in the Arctic, and had each paid 2,000 pounds (US$3,300) to 3,000 pounds (US$4,900) to join the trip, designed to mix science experiments with adventure. Participants were hunting for Arctic fossils and taking part in environmental experiments, including a project to install hydro and solar power systems. The group also was clearing beaches of tidal debris. On Friday morning, some of the youths were camping on Spitsbergen Island, the largest in the Svalbard archipelago, and a place where researchers say there is not much food available for polar bears during the summer. The bear attacked a group of 13 people in the early morning, leaving them with moderate to severe wounds that included head injuries, officials said. One of the campers shot the bear, said Liv Asta Oedegaard, a spokeswoman for the Svalbard governor's office. The injured were evacuated by helicopter to Tromsoe, the nearest city on the Norwegian mainland. "With great sadness the British Schools Exploring Society confirms the tragic death this morning of one of the members of its expedition in Svalbard," said Edward Watson, chairman of the British Schools Exploring Society. He named the teen as Horatio Chapple, who hoped to study medicine.
Posted 8 August 2011; 5:35:52 PM. Permalink