Teen 'hero' has teeth removed from skull after polar bear attack

patrick-flinders-polar-bear-attack-norway-teeth-stuck-in-skullPatrick Flinders preparing for his Svalbard trip. Photo: Rex

One of the British teenage boys involved in a polar bear attack in Svalbard, Norway had teeth removed from his skull in an operation that took place this weekend at Southampton General Hospital.

The teens were taking part in a British Schools Exploring Society Trip on Spitsbergen Island in Norway, and were camped on the Von Post glacier when the attack occurred.

The bear ripped open a tent being shared by three boys, and killed Eton student Horatio Chapple, and severely wounded Patrick Flinders when it scratched then bit his head.

According to the Independent, Flinders heroically tried to slow the attack by punching the bear on the nose, but not before the third camper, Scott Bennell-Smith also suffered head injuries.

The bear was killed by expedition leader Michael 'Spike' Reid, who shot the animal dead after hearing the boys' screams.

Teen 'hero' has teeth removed from skull after polar bear attack in NorwayThe 14ft male polar bear was shot dead at the scene. Photo: Rex

According to the Mail, Patrick's father, Terry Flinders, told the BBC Today programme: 'Spike shot but did not kill the bear, which then went for Patrick, he bit his arm and then just swiped his face and top of his head. And then the same with Scottie.

'Patrick said he can't remember doing it, but I suppose it might come back to him later.'

'We are a small community here and he has become a hero.

horatio-chapple-killed-by-polar-bear-attack-in-NorwayHoratio Chapple tragically lost his life in Friday's attack. Photo: Rex

'I've told him the girls will love him for his bravery, and he will be able to walk through town on a Friday night without any trouble because people will know him as the guy who punched a 14ft polar bear.

'If three SAS men, who are hardened people, had been in those tents and saw what Patrick and Scott saw - their friend being ripped to pieces - they must be affected by that, let alone a 16-year-old who fought for his life.'

Following the attack, Kieran Mulvaney, author of The Great White Bear: A Natural & Unnatural History of Polar Bears, pointed out that incidents like these are rare and frequently a result of extenuating circumstances, such as the bear being starved.
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