Canadian Teen Stranded With Polar Bears

IUK Press, Bear Hunting Magazine
11/10/2009

A Canadian teenager shot and killed a polar bear as he waited for more than a day to be rescued after he was stranded on a chunk of ice floating out into the Arctic.

The 17-year-old had become separated from his uncle after their snowmobile broke down on the ice planes north of Hudson Bay in Canada this last Saturday.

The pair, who were hunting, were trapped 11 miles from Coral Harbour, a tiny community on Nunavut's Southampton Island. As they walked toward the community to get help, they became separated and then a large chunk of ice broke off, setting the teen adrift.

The uncle was picked up Sunday morning by searchers on snowmobiles. His nephew, however, remained lost. The teen, who was armed with a rifle, encountered three bears, an adult and two older cubs, on the same large ice pan.

Ed Zebedee, director of the Government of Nunavut's protection services branch stated that the boy "did have to shoot the polar bear to protect himself. There were two other bears on the ice pan but they stayed away from him so he did not have to shoot at them."

The two cubs remained with the adult carcass and the teen managed to position himself as far away as he could from the remaining animals. A pilot on a small plane chartered by a government search-and-rescue agency spotted the teen on Sunday afternoon and also saw the carcass of a bear down below. The crew on board dropped a plastic container of chocolate bars and candy to the stranded boy.

A Hercules aircraft also spotted the boy, but lost sight of him as the plane circled back to take another look and darkness set in. The crew continued to search for the teen through the night, dropping flares to illuminate the snowy landscape, but could not find him.

On Monday morning, the crew on board the military search-and-rescue aircraft again spotted the youth, who had drifted about 20 miles from where the snowmobile had broken down. Two search-and-rescue technicians parachuted to a larger ice floe a short distance away to mount their rescue attempt.

The two remaining bears were still in the area when the rescuers arrived but did not interfere with the rescue. The teen, whose name was not released, was taken to hospital in Churchill, Manitoba, to be treated for hypothermia.



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