Safety failures led to fatal polar bear attack
'Safety failures' led to fatal polar bear attack

The parents of a schoolboy killed by a polar bear during an Arctic expedition have criticised the organisers for a series of safety failures.

Horatio Chapple, 17, was mauled to death when a 39-stone bear entered the group’s camp as they slept on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard in August 2011, The Telegraph reported.

But an independent report into the incident, commissioned by the expedition organisers British Schools Exploring Society, found that the trip wire system intended to act as a bear early warning alarm, had been defective and had failed to go off.

There were also a shortage of stakes for the tripwire and not enough mines situated around the perimeter of the camp site.

In addition the rifle carried by the expedition leaders, the Mauser 98K, had a complex safety catch mechanism which emptied rounds if wrongly activated.

At an inquest into his death Horatio’s parents GP Olivia and surgeon David Chapple, said they had been concerned about polar bear attacks before he went on the trip.

Mr Chapple said: “We believed that the staff at BSES would do as they said and act responsibly to protect the children under their care.

“We were never told the bear trip wires only sometimes work. The risk assessment refers to flares being available to all members of the expedition."

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