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British teen killed by polar bear

A 17-year-old boy who was killed by a polar bear in northern Norway has been named by the British Schools Exploring Society (BSES) as Horatio Chapple.

Four other people were injured in the attack, which happened as a party travelling on a BSES expedition were camped on the Von Postbreen glacier near Longyearbyen on Svalbard, north of the Norwegian mainland.

BSES chairman Edward Watson said: "Having spoken to the family, we are now able to advise that the young explorer who died on our expedition this morning is Horatio Chapple.

"Horatio was a fine young man who wanted to go on to read medicine after school. By all accounts he would have made an excellent doctor. We and the Norwegian authorities are currently establishing the full circumstances of his tragic death and will not be releasing this until we have discussed this fully with the family."

Horatio's family from near Salisbury, Wiltshire, said they were too upset to speak. The teenager was thought to be a pupil at Eton public school.

The party managed to get through to Svalbard Governor's office to call for assistance after the attack early on Friday. Eventually, the injured were taken by helicopter to hospital in Longyearbyen and then on to University Hospital in Tromso, Norway.

BSES Expeditions said those injured were trip leaders Michael Reid and Andrew Ruck, as well as two young men - Patrick Flinders, from Jersey, who is believed to be 16, and Scott Smith. "There were about 80 people all told in the expedition. The young people are all between 16 and 23," a BSES spokeswoman said.

Liv Asta Odegaard, spokeswoman for the governor of Svalbard, said: "We got a call via satellite phone from a British group of campers that there had been a polar bear attack and that one person was dead and that others were injured and they needed assistance. There are no roads in the area so we scrambled a helicopter."

Ms Odegaard said campers in the area normally lay down a trip wire around tents when they go to sleep, which sets off an emergency rocket if it is crossed by an animal, but she was unsure whether the British campers' wire had worked properly. The polar bear has been killed.

Teenager Kyle Gouveia, who was on the expedition, told Sky News the group was given shooting practice on the second day of the trip in case a polar bear attacked. They also took on "bear watches" at their base camp in Svalbard and practised using "bear flares", said the 17-year-old.


From Belfast Telegraph