Sunday 23 November 2014

Witnesses of fatal bear attack on Irish woman (36) desperately tried to fight off animal with water cannons, fire extinguishers and air horns

Brian Byrne and Mark O'Regan

Published 09/05/2014 | 02:30

A DUBLIN-born woman has been killed in a horrific attack by a bear in Canada.  Lorna Weafer (36) died after being attacked by a large male black bear as she carried out electrical work in rural Fort McMurray, in Alberta, at Suncors Oil Sands. Pic identified by her cousin
A DUBLIN-born woman has been killed in a horrific attack by a bear in Canada. Lorna Weafer (36) died after being attacked by a large male black bear as she carried out electrical work in rural Fort McMurray, in Alberta, at Suncors Oil Sands. Pic identified by her cousin

Witnesses of a fatal bear attack on an Irish woman desperately tried to fight off the bear with fire extinguishers and water cannonns.

Lorna Weafer (36) died after being attacked by a large male black bear while working on an oilfield in Alberta, Canada.

The horrific attack was unprovoked according to witnesses who said the bear would shy away but returned again – eventually killing the woman.

The woman’s co-workers blasted air horns to try to scare the animal away, but to no effect.

Ms Weafer emigrated to Canada with her parents Margaret and Frank more than 30 years ago.

She had worked as an engineer at the Suncor oil field situated, 25 miles north of her home in Fort McMurray.

The incident occurred at around 2.15pm on Wednesday as Ms Weafer was coming out of a portable washroom.

According to Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), the bear was mature and was later tracked down and killed by officers.

A close relative of Ms Weafer last night told the Irish Independent the entirely family were "numb" over the incident. They said her brothers Keith and Darren were flying from Thailand and Australia to Canada to be with her parents, who still live there.

The family member said her brother Darren in Australia was completely distraught. "The family is completely numb."

They described Ms Weafer as "extremely outgoing, with a very dry Irish wit".

"She did very well for herself. The father and mother went out there years ago and the father worked in the oil fields. Lorna followed him into the same profession. She was very successful.

"She was very outgoing, a very dry Irish wit. She always had time for everybody. You hear that all the time, but that is the truth. She was very successful in her career. She was extremely interested in rugby and all sports."

"She grew up with two brothers so she was very tough. She was the middle child."

Dublin actor Alan O'Neill, who plays Hugh in 'Sons of Anarchy' and formerly acted in 'Fair City', last night sent out a message: "Heartbreaking and devastating news for all my family at the very tragic passing of my beautiful vivacious cousin in Canada."

Bear attacks are considered to be extremely rare in North America.

The last fatal black bear mauling in Alberta is believed to have been in 1991 when a 12-year-old boy was killed at a campground. And in 1980, two oil rig workers were killed by a black bear near Zama Lake, Alta.

Weafer Family Statement

Irish Independent

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