Horatio Chapple, 17, was mauled to death by a polar bear during an Arctic expedition. A schoolboy was killed by a polar bear during an Arctic expedition after an alarm system failed to detect its approach, a coroner has ruled.
The bear "slammed down" on Eton College student Horatio Chapple with its paws, then mauled him, causing fatal head, face and neck injuries, the coroner said on Friday.
Ian Singleton, assistant coroner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said items of equipment, including parts of the tripwire system designed to warn the campers of a bear's approach, were missing. But he cleared the British Schools Exploring Society (BSES), which organised the trip, of neglect.
"I do not find that neglect is appropriate to be considered, as failure [by BSES] was not total or complete," he said.
The polar bear that killed Horatio Chapple is removed after the tragedy in Svalbard, Norway. Photograph: Arild Lyssand/AFP/Getty Images. In his narrative conclusion, Singleton said: "A polar bear was able to enter the camp shortly before 7.30am undetected as the tripwire alarm system around the perimeter of the camp had failed to activate due to a supporting post more likely than not being knocked over by the bear, which caused the cartridge to move or fall out of the mine without it detonating. "Horatio emerged from his tent and was in the act of standing up when the bear reared up and slammed down on him with its paws, pushing Horatio to the ground where the bear then mauled his head, face and neck, causing the injury which led to Horatio's death. "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." Horatio, 17, died in 2011 during a trip to the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard.