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Expedition cleared of neglect over polar bear death

A coroner has cleared an expedition company of neglect over its responsibility to protect Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple, who was mauled to death on a school trip.

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Trip leader 'wrestled with polar bear' that killed teen

The trip leader of an expedition in which a 17-year-old boy was mauled to death by a polar bear has told an inquest how he wrestled with the predator as it attacked him after his rifle failed to fire.

Horatio Chapple was dragged out of his tent and killed by the polar bear. Credit: Handout

Horatio Chapple was on an adventure holiday to the remote Svalbard islands in August 2011 with the British Schools Exploring Society (BSES) when he died.

The Eton pupil, from Salisbury, Wiltshire, was sleeping in his tent when the bear went on the rampage, inflicting fatal injuries to his head and upper body.

Michael Reid, known as Spike, from Plymouth, Devon, told the Salisbury inquest: "I remember the bear biting my head and I thought the weakest part is the eyes so I tried to take out the eyes with my fingers, but was unsuccessful."

Four others were hurt before the bear was eventually shot dead at the camp site, where the group, known as Chanzin Fire, had been staying.

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