Two people hurt in polar bear attack in Churchill


(SOURCE) Two people were injured in a polar bear attack that took place in Churchill early this morning.

According to numerous reports, a young woman who works at a local restaurant was attacked by a polar bear while walking on Selkirk Street at around 5 a.m., and a resident who ventured outside to try to help was also attacked.

Two polar bears — one young male, thought to be responsible for the attack, and another female, which one observer said was not involved in the attack — were subsequently shot and killed by conservation officers. The female’s orphaned cub was captured, the witness said.

Churchill resident Doug Webber said the attack took place right outside his house at 26 Selkirk.

“The bear attacked a girl right outside our house, and our neighbour, Bill Ayotte, came out to try to scare the bear off,” said Webber. “He managed to do that long enough for the girl to get into Bill’s house, bleeding from the head, but then Bill got attacked by the bear.

“That’s when I woke up and went to the window and saw the bear kind of chewing on Bill. I went running out to help, and then a bunch of other people ran out, and two boys managed to scare the bear off. Then we put Bill in a pickup truck and took him to the hospital, and the ambulance came and took the girl to the hospital.”

Another resident of Selkirk Street, Diane Bellerive, said she stood on her deck, no more than 50 feet away from the bear as it stood over Ayotte. Her son Mitch, 21, called 911 and went to grab a shotgun.

“It was horrific… we’re shaken up,” she said.

“It was scary to see. I am on my deck, totally helpless, there is no one around and it’s all quiet, and the bear is on top of him.”

She said Mitch fired “cracker shells” to scare off the bear. She also had a small pistol and was firing as well.

“They make a loud bang. But the bear kept grabbing at him,” Bellerive said. “We kept firing until we rang out of shells.”

Adilia Shields, works for Canada Post in Churchill, said she watched the ordeal through the front window of her home on Selkirk.

“I actually didn’t realize there was a person underneath the bear until I saw a hand waving,” she said. “I panicked and started crying.

“It’s a miracle he’s OK. I’m still in shock.”

Shields said a “a kid” did everything he could to try and get the bear away from the man being attacked.

“He had no clothes on, but he got in his car and tried to get it out of the way. He’s a hero.”

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