LONDON — A British expedition leader says he tried to gouge a polar bear's eyes to stop it from attacking teens on an Arctic adventure trip. Michael Reid recounted the attack at a coroner's inquest Tuesday into the death of 17-year-old Horatio Chapple, who was fatally mauled as he slept in a tent. Four others were injured in the August 2011 attack in Norway's Svalbard archipelago, Arctic islands that are home to about 2,400 people and 3,000 polar bears.
Reid told the inquest in Salisbury, southern England, that he rushed from his tent and tried to shoot the bear, but his rifle did not go off. Reid said the bear then attacked him. "I thought the weakest part is the eyes so I tried to take out the eyes with my fingers, but was unsuccessful," he said. When the bear released him, Reid grabbed the gun again. This time it fired, killing the animal.