Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Neighbours Fired Guns, Threw Shoes, to Scare Polar Bear That Attacked Neighbour

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Neighbours Fired Guns, Threw Shoes, to Scare Polar Bear That Attacked Neighbour

Article excerpt

Neighbours raced to save man from polar bear

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CHURCHILL, Man. - Mitch Paddock was at a friend's house in the town that's known as the polar bear capital of the world when he heard the screams of a woman who had just left the gathering.

He ran outside in his sock feet and saw his retired neighbour, who he and others in the area have identified as Bill Ayotte, on the ground in front of his house being mauled by one of the huge white creatures.

"I didn't know it was my neighbour at the time. It was just a guy on the ground," Paddock said Saturday from Churchill, Man.

"He was on his back, the bear was right on top of him with both paws," he said of the incident early Friday.

It turned out Ayotte had run out of his house to help the woman, Paddock said, adding the man grabbed a shovel and hit the animal, distracting it and giving the woman time to flee to his home and shut the door.

But then Ayotte was the one in serious trouble.

"It was dragging him around," Paddock said. "It was pouncing on him. That's what polar bears do. They take both their paws and they kind of smash. He was kind of jumping on Bill's chest."

"I ran down the street in my socks to get my gun."

Paddock said he raced into his house and up the stairs to grab a shotgun that fires cracker shells, which are designed to scare wildlife by shooting fire crackers. He said many people in Churchill have them.

He ran back to the scene and began firing, but the bear remained on top of his neighbour, undeterred.

Paddock said other neighbours came out, trying frantically to scare the bear off.

"Another neighbour, one of the guys who lives beside Bill, was throwing shoes and yelling at the bear," he said.

"One of my neighbours was standing on the deck in his underwear, shooting at him, too.

"Eventually I hit him in the side with one of these cracker shells, and when it went off, it was at his feet and he ran away. …

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