Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bear victim thanks rescuers

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CHURCHILL -- The family of a Manitoba man seriously injured in a polar bear attack in Churchill says he hopes he will be able to return home to recuperate once he is well enough.

Bill Ayotte's family has issued a release that says he is recovering from his injuries at Health Sciences Centre.

Ayotte suffered multiple lacerations when he went to the aid of a woman who was being attacked by a bear outside his home early Friday.

She escaped when Ayotte, 69, hit the bear with a shovel, but the animal turned on the man and mauled him.

The family says Ayotte is pleased the 30-year-old woman has been released from hospital.

He also thanks everyone who came to help him following the attack.

"We are now asking for privacy at this time as Bill focuses his energy on recovering," the family said Monday.

Witness Mitch Paddock has described how he heard a woman screaming, ran outside and saw Ayotte lying on his back with the bear on top of him.

Paddock said the bear was dragging Ayotte around and jumping on his chest.

Several neighbours tried to scare the bruin off by throwing shoes at it and shooting firecrackers, but the animal wouldn't leave until someone took a run at it with a pickup truck. The neighbours got a bleeding Ayotte into the truck and took him to the hospital.

Manitoba Conservation officials have said they shot and killed two bears. A cub was tranquillized and taken to a holding facility.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 5, 2013 A5

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