Polar bear attack: Man and woman mauled in Canadian town

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A man and a woman were recovering in hospital this weekend after a polar bear attack in Manitoba, Canada on Friday morning.

Retired tour guide Bill Ayotte, 69, heard a "commotion" on his front deck in Churchill, and opened the door to find 30-year-old Erin Greene being attacked by a polar bear.

He grabbed a shovel and started hitting it over the head, at which time the bear started attacking Bill instead.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) spokeswoman Tara Seel told The Toronto Star: "It was right in the town. Pedestrians were walking in the town and were surprised by a polar bear. A homeowner heard the commotion and exited his home, at which time he was attacked by the polar bear.

"Another local resident was driving a vehicle and charged it toward the bear and scared the bear off."

The other resident was 18-year-old Didier Foubert-Allen who ran outside onto his deck upon hearing the noise, armed with his rifle.

He fired off 18 rounds to try and scare the bear off, two of which hit the animal.

But the animal did not run off, so he got in his truck and drove it towards the bear in another bid to scare it.

He told the Daily Mail: "I was five feet away from this bear, honking the horn, turning on the high beams and it suddenly stopped and ran up the road. It was almost an instinct. I knew that if the bear attacked the truck, it would get off Bill."

Another neighbour, Mitch Paddock, said: "He was on his back, the bear was right on top of him with both paws.

"It was dragging him around. It was pouncing on him. That's what polar bears do. They take both their paws and they kind of smash. He was kind of jumping on Bill's chest."

The bear was eventually shot and killed by officers with Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship.

A second bear with a cub in tow was also shot and killed. The young bear was tranquillised and taken into captivity.

Erin and Bill were both flown by air ambulance to Winnipeg, and were in a "stable condition".

Erin had just left a Halloween party in the early hours of the morning and was on her way home when she was attacked.

Both Bill and Mr Foubert-Allen have been hailed heroes in the incident by neighbours who witnessed it.

The residents of Churchill have to co-exist with polar bears as they come through the area every year as they move during winter to the seal-hunting territory of Hudson Bay.

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