Friday 15 December 2017

Dublin-born woman (36) killed in horrific bear attack in Canada

A Dublin-born woman has been killed in a horrific attack by a bear in Canada
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

Brian Byrne and Mark O’Regan

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 while working on an oil field in Alberta, Canada.

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

She had worked as an instrument technician carrying out electrical work at the Suncor oil field situated in an area described as “wilderness”, some 25 miles north of her home in Fort McMurray.

The incident occurred at approximately 2.15pm last Wednesday as Ms Weafer was coming out of a portable washroom. She died at the scene.

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

A close family member of Ms Weafer last night told the Irish Independent the entirely family were "numb" over the incident.

“The family is still in shock due to the nature of her death. Some family members are going over the Canada. Her parents still live in Canada,” the family said.

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 a "extremely outgoing, with a very dry Irish wit". Ms Weafer was single, and had emigrated when she was six-years-old. Her mother Margaret is from Drimnagh, while her father Frank is from Finglas.

"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.”

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety are investigating the incident to try and find out such an attack could be prevented in future.

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

A bear behaviour expert Stephen Herrero with the University of Calgary told Canadian press that such attacks are "exceedingly rare" — but have happened before.

"There hasn't been a fatal attack by a black bear in Alberta for about 13 years," Herrero said. 

More than 30 years ago, two oil rig workers were killed by a black bear at Zama Lake, which is also in northern Alberta.

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