Spitsbergen group was ill-equipped / News / The Foreigner

The Foreigner Spitsbergen group was ill-equipped. Equipment the young explorers in Svalbard used to protect themselves from polar bear attacks had “deficiencies and failures”, British Schools Exploring Society (BSES) expedition leader Richard Payne said. He made his statement on the first day of the inquest into the death of 17-year-old Eton College student Horatio Chapple. Four others were also seriously injured. Among the failures and deficiencies Mr Payne listed were inadequate numbers of pen flares for every member of the expedition.

svalbard, polarbear, attack, britishschoolsexploringsociety, casualties



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Spitsbergen group was ill-equipped

Published on Tuesday, 8th July, 2014 at 09:16 under the news category, by Lyndsey Smith and Michael Sandelson      .
Last Updated on 9th July 2014 at 12:58.

Equipment the young explorers in Svalbard used to protect themselves from polar bear attacks had “deficiencies and failures”, British Schools Exploring Society (BSES) expedition leader Richard Payne said.



He made his statement on the first day of the inquest into the death of 17-year-old Eton College student Horatio Chapple. Four others were also seriously injured.

Among the failures and deficiencies Mr Payne listed were inadequate numbers of pen flares for every member of the expedition.

The trip wire had been changed to a heavy duty braided fluorescent cord from a fishing line to avoid the explosive charges from going off too easily.

Parts used for the trip wire such as stakes and a brass sear – the triggering device – were in short supply.

Sir David Steel, hired by the BSES to conduct an inquiry into Horatio’s death, has concluded that the trip wire, which had been secured by a paperclip instead of plates, was “defective”, and the equipment given to the group as being “inadequate”.

Norway’s Kripos (National Crime Investigation Service) found that there were “several possible causes of faults” as to why the explosive charges did not detonate.

Both charges and pen flares are used to scare polar bears off.

There was also no polar bear watch to warn the camp’s occupants of an approaching animal to given them more time. The assessment not to use one was “probably fatal”, according to Kripos.   

Moreover, Sir David Steel concluded that poor storage and deployment of the group’s rifle which expedition co-leader Michael ‘Spike’ Reid, one of those injured in the attack had managed to shoot the polar bear dead with, led to failures too.

Polar Bear attacks are rare in Norway with around three bears being shot annually after wandering too close to the population. Four people have been killed and four injured since 1971.

The inquest at Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner’s office is set to continue this week.




Published on Tuesday, 8th July, 2014 at 09:16 under the news category, by Lyndsey Smith and Michael Sandelson      .
Last updated on 9th July 2014 at 12:58.

This post has the following tags: svalbard, polarbear, attack, britishschoolsexploringsociety, casualties.





  
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