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Nick's story

Bear attacks are rare, but they do happen


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But Back to the Day of the Attack

Meanwhile, back in Algonquin Park, officials realized that they had a predator bear on the loose, and began to mount an evacuation campaign for the region around Lake Opeongo. The park administration knew that a bear showing this kind of predatory behavior was a danger to others, and given the history of Algonquin Park's fatal black bear attacks, they were taking no chances (In 1978 three teenagers on a fishing trip at Radiant Lake were killed by a black bear. In 1991 a rouge bear broke the necks of a man and a woman on Bates Island in Opeongo Lake)

Nick's sister Kelly was in one of many groups of young campers out on another campsite at the time of the attack. Imagine the surprise of these 14-year-old girls and their counsellors as a helicopter appeared over their heads about 8 a.m. and using a loudspeaker told them not to leave the site - they would be evacuated by boat in a few hours. Park Rangers and others involved in the evacuation knew that the victim's sister was one of the campers, but as they did not know Nick's status, they didn't want to alarm anyone by disclosing the reasons for the evacuation, which was being done in order of locations closest to the attack site. Kelly remembers that as they waited for the boat to pick them up all sorts of possibilities for this sudden change in plans were put forward by the girls, with escaped murderers and nuclear war being the top two. It wasn't until much later that day when she was back at camp that she was called into the director's office to see an emotional Mike and to talk to me on the phone from the hospital in Montreal.