Friends and relatives paid tribute on Friday to a British teenager mauled to death in a polar bear attack in the Norwegian Arctic, as about 1,000 people attended his funeral.
Horatio Chapple, 17, was killed in the Aug. 5 attack on the island of Spitsbergen when a 250kg male polar bear entered the camp site of 13 young Britons who were on a five-week expedition.
The funeral for Chapple, an aspiring doctor who attended the elite Eton College, was held at Salisbury Cathedral in southwest England.
“The service today was a wonderful tribute to Horatio’s achievements in the 17 years of his life,” his family said in a statement. “So much love has been shown to us in the last few weeks and we hope that Horatio will be remembered for how he lived his life — full of love, hard work and kindness.”
“We will always be very proud of him,” the statement said.
Four other people were injured in the attack. One had to have the animal’s teeth removed from his skull. The leader of the British Schools Exploring Society expedition, Michael Reid, 29, shot the bear dead, but suffered injuries to his face and neck.
The Dean of Salisbury, the Very Reverend June Osborne, who led the service, said: “Horatio was an exceptional young man who clearly had an attractive spirit of adventure and bravery.”
“His death is not only tragic for his family, but has reminded us all of the slenderness of the thread which separates life from death and the suddenness with which it can be broken,” Osborne said. “His funeral in Salisbury Cathedral celebrated his life and allowed us to mourn his dying, whilst also reminding us of the things which give us hope in the face of such sorrow.”
It is believed to be the first deadly polar bear attack in the Svalbard archipelago since 1995.