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Family of boy killed by polar bear hope further tragedies can be prevented

Horatio Chapple died while on the trip to Norway three years ago. Credit: ITV News

The family of an Eton schoolboy from Wiltshire who was mauled to death by a polar bear have issued a statement. Horatio's parents said that they hoped new safety standards would be made mandatory to ensure future expedition groups were fully protected and to prevent further tragedies.

They also said they took comfort in their belief that Horatio's "courageous actions" may have distracted the bear and prevented other members of the group being killed.

The family called for BS8848, the British Standard for organising expeditions outside the UK which was first drafted in 2007 with a revised version released this April, to be made into law.

They said: "We hope now that the British Standard 8848 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."

The Chapple family also called on parents to ensure they inspect expedition companies before sending their children abroad.

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


  1. Meridian

Last pieces of evidence to be heard in polar bear inquest

Today should be the last day that evidence will be heard at an inquest into the death of a teenager from Salisbury who was killed by a polar bear.

Horatio Chappel was on an expedition in Norway when the animal attacked him in August 2011.

The inquest has heard how the trip wire system that was meant to scare off the bears was not good enough.

The trip leader, who shot dead the polar bear, also told the inquest how his rifle failed to fire when the animal began to attack the group.


Polar bear attack inquest set to end

Horatio Chapple died while on the trip to Norway three years ago. Credit: PA

The inquest into the death of a teenager from Wiltshire who was killed by a polar bear is due to end today.

17-year-old Horatio Chapple from Bishopstone died on an expedition to Svalbard in the Arctic Circle in August 2011.

Four others were hurt in the attack before the bear was shot dead at their camp.

Boy killed by polar bear 'found paw prints days before'

Horatio Chapple. Credit: PA

A 17-year-old Wiltshire schoolboy mauled to death by a polar bear had found paw prints just two days prior to the lethal attack, an inquest has heard. Horatio Chapple was on an adventure holiday in Svalbard in August 2011 with the British Schools Exploring Society when he died.

Lauren Beech, from Essex, told the Salisbury inquest that Horatio had found a print two days before the attack. She said that she also found out after the incident that the local authorities had issued a warning about increased polar bear activities in recent months before the attack.

She said: "That was the day that Horatio noticed the prints of the polar bear. We were advised by the leader they were approximately two to four days old and they were facing in the direction of base camp. I remember there was more than one there."

Inquest hears trip leader wrestled with polar bear

The leader of an expedition to the arctic circle has described how he wrestled with a polar bear whilst trying to save a Wiltshire teenager.

Spike Reid told an inquest how his rifle jammed, forcing him to physically fight with the bear that breached the camp's security and attacked Horatio Chapple from Bishopstone.

The animal bit his hand and left him with gouges on his face, before he was able to reload the rifle and shoot the bear.

Martin Dowse reports:

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