Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bear Alerts, Churchill, Manitoba

"Oh, for sure, yeah [knowledge of polar bears gathering yearly in Churchill, Manitoba]. People  educate you when you come into the town. They tell you, like, to be careful, to always keep a lookout. You know, there are frequently bears that come into town but they have a pretty good system set up, like a polar bear alert program. And so when people see a bear, they call this number and then conservation comes and they shoot Bear Bangers [little flares] which make gunshot noises] and that usually scares the bears and they guide them sort of back into the tundra."
Erin Greene, Montreal
A polar bear watching the "polar bear watchers" on a tundra vehicle in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.
A polar bear watching the "polar bear watchers" on a tundra vehicle in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.
 Erin Greene of Montreal moved to Churchill to work in a shop operated by a friend's parents. Back in November she was walking home from a party, accompanied by two friends, a young woman and a young man. One of her friends looked behind them as they proceeded and realized a polar bear was gaining on them, quite quickly. She gave a shrieking alarm and all three young people ran in different directions.

They couldn't outrun the bear, it was too close and polar bears are pretty fast. It grabbed Ms. Green, lifted her off the ground and placed its jaws around her head. She screamed, and a man watching television in a nearby house responded. He grabbed a shovel, ran over to the bear and the struggling young woman, whacking the bear repeatedly on its face until it finally relaxed its deadly grip and ambled off.

Erin Greene survived. She was airlifted by air ambulance helicopter to a Winnipeg hospital from the hospital in Churchill. She is in quite good spirits now, and after a brief return to Churchill to thank the residents for their helpfulness to her and to express her gratitude to those who came to her aid to rescue her from the jaws of hell, she returned to Montreal, where she is living with her mother, and looking for another job.

Erin Greene says she’s lucky to be alive after a 400-pound polar bear picked her out of a group last month, pounced on her head and swung her around like a rag doll.

CBC   Erin Greene of Montreal says she’s lucky to be alive after a 400-pound polar bear attacked her last month, pouncing on her and swinging her around like a rag doll.

When she had moved to Churchill it hadn't occurred to her to obtain travel insurance. It would have been invaluable to her. Because, although the medical costs associated with her care and her stay in hospital were paid for under Canada' universal health care system, the conveyance of a very seriously injured young woman to hospital is not covered by the health care system. She received a bill in the sum of $11,944.

That was to pay for the air ambulance to come to Churchill from Thompson, Manitoba, to then travel to Winnipeg and then return to base in Thompson. A different kind of pain, that billing. There have been two fund raisers to help her pay that bill, one in Winnipeg her friends had started bringing in about $1,500 and another she put on Indiegogo where another $1,000 was raised. She's got a long way to go.

And she thinks, if she ever does return to Churchill, she'll be sure to take out that travel insurance.

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