June 19 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, March 3, 2012
A London charity which organised an Arctic expedition in which a schoolboy was mauled to death by a polar bear will not face charges, Norweigian officials have confirmed.
Horatio Chapple had been on an adventure holiday to the remote Svalbard islands last summer with the British Schools Exploring Society (BSES) when he died.
The 17-year-old Eton pupil, who was sleeping in his tent when the attack took place, sustained fatal injuries to his head and upper body after a polar bear went on the rampage. Four others were badly hurt.
It later emerged a tripwire alarm system designed to scare away the animal had failed - despite functioning properly in tests beforehand.
Svalbard’s governor Odd Olsen Ingero has ruled the death resulted from “a number of unfortunate circumstances”, but stressed the BSES did not act negligently under criminal law.
Officials added that Mr Chapple’s parents had lodged an appeal against the decision.
BSES chairman Edward Watson said he would not comment on the governor’s report until an independent investigation in the UK, known as the Chanzin Inquiry, had been completed.
That probe is to conclude later this year and is being chaired by High Court Judge Sir David Steel.
The BSES is based in Kensington Gore, central London.