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Saturday 7 December 2019

Friends of bear victim made desperate bid to halt deadly attack

Lorna Weafer
Lorna Weafer

Sam Griffin

FRIENDS and colleagues of the Irish woman mauled by a bear in Canada frantically tried to scare off the huge animal from attacking her using fire extinguishers and water cannons.

Lorna Weafer (36) was killed when she was attacked by a black bear in woodland in Alberta, Canada, on Wednesday.

Ms Weafer had emigrated to Canada more than 30 years ago with her parents, and had managed to carve out a successful career in the oil industry.

It was confirmed that an investigation into how the tragic death occurred has now been launched by Canadian officials.

Lorna's parents Margaret and Frank, originally from Drimnagh and Finglas, said they were still coming to terms with the horrific attack.

"Lorna's warmth and compassion knew no bounds. She had a busy full life, loved her family and her dog," they said in a statement. "She was talking about going back to study and become a psychologist because she loved helping people – she'd have helped anyone.


"She will be greatly missed by her family, and her many, many friends. We'd like to recognise the co-workers who tried to help Lorna. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts."

Lorna's friends and co-workers desperately tried to scare the bear off with flares, fire extinguishers and water cannon as well as blasting air horns after it had attacked her while she was coming out of a portable washroom.

The horrific attack was unprovoked, according to witnesses who said the bear repeatedly returned – eventually killing Ms Weafer.

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety authorities tracked down and killed a black bear yesterday and tests were being conducted to determine if it was the same bear who attacked the instrument technician.

Lorna was also related to Irish actor Alan O'Neill, star of hit TV series 'Sons of Anarchy', who took to social network sites, along with friends of Ms Weafer, to pay his respects. A special tribute page on Facebook has also been set up.

Attacks by black bears, which are typically more docile than other bears, are very rare. 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.

Irish Independent

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