British teen killed by polar bear 'wanted to be a doctor'

5th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

The British teenager killed by a polar bear in the Norwegian Arctic on Friday was named by the organisers of the expedition as Horatio Chapple, a young man who wanted to become a doctor.

"Having spoken to the family we are now able to advise that the young explorer who died on our expedition this morning is Horatio Chapple," said Teddy Watson, the chairman of the London-based British School Exploring Society (BSES).

"Horatio was a fine young man hoping to go on to read medicine after school. By all accounts he would have made an excellent doctor.

"We and the Norwegian authorities are currently establishing the full circumstances of his tragic death and will not be releasing this until we have discussed it fully with the family.

"I would ask you to respect their privacy at this extremely difficult time. Our thoughts are with them."

Officials in Norway said Chapple was killed and four other Britons were severely injured in the attack on their camp site in the Svalbard archipelago early Friday.

Norwegian authorities said he was 17.

They were on a five-week trip organised by BSES, which was founded in 1932, "to provide young people with an intense and lasting experience of self-discovery in some of the world's last true wilderness environments around today".

In an entry on the expedition's blog, dated July 27, another member of the expedition described their excitement at spotting polar bears from their camp in Longyearbyen.

"There was a P.bear sighting across the fjord about a mile away. Unfortunately a Westerly wind and freak climatic events have led to an unprecedented amount of ice in the fjord meaning we are marooned here for the time being," it said.

"Despite this everyone was in good spirits because we encountered another P.bear floating on the ice, this time we were lucky enough to borrow a kind Norwegian guide's telescope to see it properly.

"After that experience I can say for sure that everyone dreamt of P.bears that night."

© 2011 AFP

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