In what is believed to be one of the most dreadful and shocking ordeal, a 17-year old British boy Horatio Chapple was mauled to death by a male polar bear on Friday.
The attack took place around 40 km from Longyearbyen near the Von Post glacier in Svalbard. Horatio was part of a youth development charity group called BSES (British Schools Exploring Society) that organized the five-week expedition that started from July 23, 2011 promising an exploration of the "untouched beauty and wilderness" of the region.
The archipelago of Svalbard is often said to be a haven for travelers and nature lovers and is often frequented by scientists and adventurers who come to study its diverse eco-systems. In fact, polar bears are regarded as the iconic symbol of Svalbard and are the main tourist attraction of the region.
Policemen from the Governor of Svalbard have confirmed that the 250 kg male polar bear has killed Horatio and had injured four others in the group. This includes 29-year old Michael Reid, 27-year old Andrew Ruck, 17-year old Patrick Flinders and 16-year old Scott Smith.
All the injured members have been transferred currently from the hospital in Longyearbyen to the University hospital in Tromsø.
Currently, no members from the team have agreed for any kind of media contact. However, a spokesperson from BSES has confirmed that the rest of the team members are unharmed while four people in the attack have severe injuries.
The bear attacked the tents as they were lying in their sleeping bags. They were rescued by team leaders Michael Reid and Andrew Ruck who intervened with rifles and killed the polar bear.
This report comes amid a series of bear attacks that have occurred recently near Alaska and Central Canada.
On Friday, there was another report of a 57-year old woman who was attacked by a bear in Pukaskwa National Park on Lake Superior in Ontario. Also, a group of student hikers in Alaska was attacked by grizzly bear injured four of them.
Check out the images of the attack below: