Sunday, August 7, 2011

Eton student, Horatio Chapple, killed by polar bear in Arctic tent

This is tragic and sad.

A 17 year old Eton student was killed by a polar bear while on an adventure trip in Arctic tent, the Daily Mail UK reported on 6th August 2011.

Horatio Chapple had been camping on remote glacier in a wildlife trip when he was attacked while sleeping in his tent on Friday 5th August 2011.

Horatio was on a £4,000 adventure holiday on a remote glacier near the Arctic Circle and was part of 80-strong group of mainly 16-to-23-year-olds on a five-week British Schools Exploring Society (BSES) trip in the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.

He died after suffering 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.

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

The Bear was punched away by boys lying next to Horatio.

Days before the tragic attack, the group was 'delighted' at seeing a polar bear in the Artic wilderness.

Four other victims are in critical condition at nearby hospital after being airlifted by Norwegian Emergency Medical Services.

The deadly bear was 'looking for food' in the areas which have history of attacks, say local residents.

The bear was later shot dead with rifle in the students' desperate bid for survival.

How tragic.

Why there was no safety precautions taken?

For the record Eaton is a very prestigious school in the world but they failed in protecting the lives of their students.

They knew that the area is a habitat for Polar Bear, a natural predator, and yet no effective and serious safety measures were taken.

I am a Malaysian living far away in Malaysia and i know Horatio because my elder brother used to stay with one Mrs Kay Johnson family in UK while my brother was still studying at Felsted School and later to the University of Sheffield in the late 80s and early 90s.

Horatio was the grandson of Mrs Kay Johnson. He aspired to be a doctor. Poor soul.

To ensure precious lives are not lost in the event of outings like this, questions need to be asked. Why not install a high quality safety perimeter fence around that camps in the Artic? Why not equip themselves with ultra effective trip-wire, adequate firearms and ammunitions?

If they are asleep at night, why not ask someone to be on the look out or guards on shift to ensure 24 hours surveillance. This is always done by the military and armed forces around the world. If you are in hostile territory, better ask someone to be on alert by shift.

Poor Soul Horatio Chapple, may you rest in peace.

The students from Eaton in group picture days before the tragic attack. Horatio and 4 other injured victims were part of a 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.

The scene of the tragic attack.

The dead body of the polar bear being towed away after being shot dead.

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.

Polar bears are well adapted for surviving their hostile, barren environment.

Their double layer of fur and four-inch thick layer of fat means they can live in temperatures of minus 50c.

During the warmer seasons, the bears mate and give birth as they wait for the ice to form, usually in October.

God bless the Johnson and Chapple families. Rest in Peace Horatio Chapple.

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