Saturday, August 6, 2011

Norway is victim to another terrible youth camp tragedy: Polar Bear attack

As if Norway hasn't had enough tragedies in the past couple of weeks, we can add another freak accident to that list. Not only is it in Norway, but it just happens to involve another youth camp!

Yesterday, at Norway's Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic, a ravenous Polar Bear fatally mauled a 17-year-old boy and sent four others to the hospital with serious injuries.

Horatio Chapple: 17-year-old victim
The youth camp that was attacked was the British Schools exploring society. It is "a youth development charity, some 25 miles east of the town of Longyearbyen, said Liv Asta Oedegaard, spokeswoman for the Svalbard governor's office," according to Their personal website describes the camp as one that "Provides opportunities for young people to take part in exploratory projects abroad, led by experts."

The organization's site,, was updated today following the tragedy:

Following the tragic incident in Svalbard on 5 August, BSES has contacted every family affected and they have shown support and understanding. Our priority is providing help and assistance and our Executive Director, Lt Gen Peter Pearson is on the ground in Svalbard.

We extend our utmost sympathy to the family of Horatio Chapple who continue to ask for their privacy to be respected. The family said: "Horatio was so excited about his plans to be a doctor, strong, fearless and kind with an amazing sense of humour and an ability to laugh at himself. He was on the cusp of adulthood and had a clear vision of where his life was going."

The bear reportedly entered one of the camp's tents on Friday, and proceeded to brutally attack the five campers inside.

This particular site was known to have polar bears, and there was tripwire installed to keep them from intruding. If a bear triggered the wire, a flare gun would go off to alert the campers. Obviously it didn't work.

Why no one was alerted, no one knows. identifies the others injured as, "the group's leaders, Michael Reid and Andrew Ruck, and the two other injured teens were identified as Patrick Flinders and Scott Smith."
Ruck (left), Michael Reed (right)
As for the Polar Bear? It was immediately shot and killed by a member of the group. To give you an idea of the strength of this bear, the Huffington Post says, "[Polar Bears] are the world's largest non-aquatic predators. Although they don't usually hunt humans, they can attack nearly anything if they are hungry."

The deceased Polar Bear following the attack