UK coroner clears fatal Arctic polar bear attack expedition company of “neglect” / News / The Foreigner

The Foreigner UK coroner clears fatal Arctic polar bear attack expedition company of “neglect”. The coroner in charge of the inquest into 17-year-old Horatio Chapple’s death returns a verdict stating that the British Schools Exploration Society (BSES) did not cause this. The deceased’s parents hope new regulations will be adopted among scrutiny. “I do not find that neglect is appropriate to be considered, as failure (by BSES) was not total or complete,” assistant Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner Ian Singleton said in his narrative verdict, Friday. Eton pupil Horatio Chapple died after a polar bear attacked him while on the company’s August 2011 trip to Norway’s Spitsbergen Island in the Svalbard Archipelago.

svalbard, polarbear, attack, britishschoolsexploringsociety, casualties



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UK coroner clears fatal Arctic polar bear attack expedition company of “neglect”

Published on Saturday, 19th July, 2014 at 23:38 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Lyndsey Smith      .
Last Updated on 19th July 2014 at 23:52.

The coroner in charge of the inquest into 17-year-old Horatio Chapple’s death returns a verdict stating that the British Schools Exploration Society (BSES) did not cause this. The deceased’s parents hope new regulations will be adopted among scrutiny.



“I do not find that neglect is appropriate to be considered, as failure (by BSES) was not total or complete,” assistant Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner Ian Singleton said in his narrative verdict, Friday.

Eton pupil Horatio Chapple died after a polar bear attacked him while on the company’s August 2011 trip to Norway’s Spitsbergen Island in the Svalbard Archipelago.

Four others were seriously injured, including expedition co-leader Michael ‘Spike’ Reid who shot the bear dead after the Mauser 98K rifle misfired four times.

“The failure of Michael Reid to fire the rifle was not a contributing factor to Horatio's death,” Mr Singleton stated.

Deficiencies and probabilities

Last week’s five-day inquest in the UK also heard there were several safety equipment failures and deficiencies.

In his ruling, the assistant coroner declared that the tripwire system used was in compliance with Norwegian law, but not “100 per cent foolproof.”

Norway’s NCIS (Kripos) has remarked that they believe there were “several possible causes of faults” as to why the explosive charges did not detonate as the polar bear entered the camp.

According to Mr Singleton, the bear had probably knocked one of the corner posts down. This led to the explosive charges not firing due to lack of tension.

“On balance of probabilities I find that the corner post had been knocked down by the polar bear on entering the camp as the remaining two posts were still upright,” he ruled.

“No fly-by-night organisation”

The BSES have already stated that they have helped develop a new polar bear alarm system, being trialed in Greenland. It is included in their new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

Moreover, in defending the organisation – now called the British Exploring Society (BES) – during the inquest, executive director Lieutenant General Peter Pearson said that “this is not a fly-by-night organisation.”

“We tasked a high-court judge to carry out an independent inquiry ... we are absolutely an open book.” The Lieutenant General added that they would be adopting Sir David’s recommendations.

The BSES group was also found to have an inadequate number of pen flares to scare the bear off. The assistant coroner stated these would have been ineffective, however, as they would have taken at least 20 seconds to assemble and were not designed for use at close range.

“Aggressive and unpredictable”

Earlier in the week, the Salisbury inquest had heard the expedition had no polar bear watch. Norway’s Kripos have commented that the decision not to have one was probably fatal.

High Court judge Sir David Steel, whom BSES hired to conduct an independent inquiry, concluded a polar bear watch should be mandatory on all trips, “a stipulation which exceeds what is required by Norwegian law,” the BSES stated.

Moreover, an examination of the polar bear, whose tracks Horatio Chapple had spotted some days before his death, revealed it was seriously underweight and suffering from teeth and gum problems.

Two other people in the area where the BSES’ Chanzin Fire camp was placed, approximately 40 kilometres (almost 25 miles) from the town of Longyearbyen on the Von Post Glacier, had reported seeing a polar bear in its vicinity prior to the attack.

"At the time of the attack the polar bear was 24 years of age, hungry and in pain from bad teeth which more likely than not made it more aggressive and unpredictable,” ruled assistant Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner Ian Singleton.

Encourage scrutiny

Horatio Chapple’s parents, David and Olivia, said following Friday’s verdict they hoped “that the British Standard 8848:2014 (for organising expeditions outside the UK) will become mandatory to protect other children like Horatio, who want to explore the world.”

“These sensible guidelines were developed for organisations taking children on adventurous activities abroad, so that any parent handing their child into the care of a provider can be assured that the venture has been professionally planned and managed.”

Mr and Mrs Chapple also encouraged parents to make sure they examine expedition companies prior to sending their children to foreign countries.

“We would urge parents to question the organisations who may be taking responsibility for the lives of their children. Ask the uncomfortable questions and only trust if you are completely satisfied with the answers,” they said.

“Our solace is the 17 years of love, kindness and courage, which Horatio gave to so many of us," added the Chapples.



Published on Saturday, 19th July, 2014 at 23:38 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Lyndsey Smith      .
Last updated on 19th July 2014 at 23:52.

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





  
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