Bear Kills Woman Worker at Suncor Energy Base Camp in Canada

Friday, 09 May 2014 08:14 AM

By Michael Mullins

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A bear that killed a woman working at a base camp for Suncor Energy in Alberta, Canada, on Wednesday was later tracked down and killed.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were called to the scene shortly after 2 p.m. local time where they found the body of the female worker, who was declared dead on the scene. Authorities subsequently shot and killed the male, black bear responsible for the slaying, which, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, was still wandering around the area.

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What triggered the attack is still being investigated by several agencies including Suncor, Alberta's Fish and Wildlife Division, and Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Agency (OHS).

"We have a lot of different environments in this province of ours — we have lots of different types of wildlife," Occupational Health and Safety spokesman Barrie Harrison told the CBC. "For the most part, companies are very good at understanding what the hazards are and having mechanisms in place to deal with those hazards."

"Certainly from an Occupational Health and Safety perspective, this is the first that I’m aware of having a worker either seriously injured or killed by a bear of any variety," Harrison added.

Suncor spokeswoman Sneh Seetal told reporters Wednesday night that workers at the base camp where the attack occurred all receive wildlife interaction training sessions on a regular basis, and that she was not aware of an incident like this ever before happening at the Oil Sands site.

"We don't know why this happened. We are reminding people to be especially vigilant in dealing with wildlife. That’s why it's so important we conduct a full investigation and work with the regulatory bodies to determine what happened in this tragic situation," Seetal told reporters.

The spokeswoman also extended Suncor's condolences to the family of the victim, adding that the company has "activated counseling for our people on site and are encouraging them to take part in that service if they need to."

Founded in Montreal in 1919, Suncor was originally the Sun Company of Canada, a subsidiary of Sun Oil which is now Sunoco. The company specializes in the production of synthetic crude from oil sands and is the fifth largest North American energy company, according to Suncor's website.

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