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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's rifle 'failed to fire' as polar bear mauled boy

A trip leader who shot dead a polar bear on a schools expedition has told an inquest his rifle failed to fire when the creature began attacking the group.

Michael Reid or 'Spike' from Plymouth, Devon said he was awoken by several people shouting "bear attack". He then grabbed the group's rifle and left his tent.

I cocked the rifle, took aim, aimed it carefully as I didn't want to shoot the YE, although it was close I didn't want to injure the [young explorers] or worse.

So I took a carefully aimed shot at the bear in the chest area of the bear but the rifle didn't fire. I cocked the rifle again and took another attempt at an aimed shot at the bear.

I do not know why this failure was happening and so I carried on this until the magazine was empty.

– Michael Reid

He said the bear then attacked him, before he grabbed his own rifle and killed the bear "as it was attacking someone else".

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