Two men sue 15 years after grizzly attack

A reminder to employers: train field employees in bear country…and avoid litigation![From ctv.ca & Calgary Sun]  Two men from Australia are suing the Federal Government after they were attacked by a grizzly 15 years ago in Lake Louise.

Owen Hereford and Andrew Brodie were two of six tourists severely injured when they were mauled by a grizzly at a Lake Louise campground in Banff National Park.

The mauling happened at 3:30 in the morning on September 29th 1995 and at the time, even authorities were shocked by the unprovoked attack.

The lawsuit claims federal officials were negligent by not doing enough to keep campers safe from roaming wildlife, even though signs were posted warning of a bear in the area.

The men are seeking $75,000 each in damages and are also after compensation for loss of past and future income. An economist testified for the plaintiffs in court on Wednesday and suggested that amount could be as high as $2 million.

Photo: CTV

A statement of claim says both men continue to suffer from extensive mental and emotional distress and have ongoing disabilities as a result of the attack.

The pair and their lawyer won’t comment until after the case wraps up.

A bear expert is expected to take the stand on Thursday and park wardens and conservation officers will testify next week.

Read the CTV story here.

Read the Calgary Sun story here.

4 thoughts on “Two men sue 15 years after grizzly attack”

  1. I am in the bush all the time, camping, and tracking wildlife. I carry bear spray as a precaution. I accept that if I am in the wilderness, I do it at my own risk.

    Why, after 15 years, do two tourists think that someone else is responsible for their safety in the wilderness? Because, they can see dollar signs, and know the Canadian Gov. is easy pickings. I hope the court rules that wilderness activities are the responsibility of the camper, or individual, and not a third party.

    If the incident occurred in a supervised campground, and officials were, in this case, aware of a rogue bear, then there may be some degree of responsibility on park officials. However, after 15 years, it is nothing to do with public safety concerns, it is a case of how much money can we get out of this.

  2. Hi Peter Smith:

    Good comments.

    We need more people like you in the bush. Our bear population would be safer. We need to remember that the bear always comes in second so being aware of your surroundings like you seem to be helps make you and the bear safer.

    Ken

  3. @Peter Smith @Ken,

    No gentlemen, they are not good comments. In fact they are ignorant opinions by two people that have no idea about the details of the case.

    This case started less than a year after the attack (so 1996), after no communication from the Canadian government. Then it took 15 years before your government and your lawyers let the case be heard.

    Secondly, this case was about holding those wardens accountable since they knew of the attacks leading up to the event and didn’t adequately warn campers of the risks. If the case was about the money then they would have settled long ago as the American victim, Sue Olin did.

    As it turns out they lost the case as the judge deemed the attack as ‘unforseeable’ for the wardens – even though two tents had been attacks in the days prior. Also, it would have caused too many problems for your precious parks, and seriously, how could two Aussies ever win in Canada.

    Try to get your facts straight before littering the internet with your drivel, or at least try not to be so one eyed.

  4. Dear Skipper,

    Thank you for your comments. They have been helpful in that someone may learn from them and we can save a life. You have a right to your opinion and we respect that.

    You are right on one point: we don’t know the facts. We may never know all of the facts. There are times when all of the facts are hard to come by.

    I have a fair amount of experience with Bears in campsites and you can appreciate the fact that when they are in close proximity to humans it is a very dicey and dangerous situation.

    Bear are generally there because of ‘attractants,’ in other words garbage left around by us.

    There are a number of ways to discourage the animal from coming around the site: rubber bullets, bean bags, screamers, bangers, etc. It is an added danger to trap them and you can’t use snares in populated areas.

    Once the Bear is habituated the trapping and scare tactics don’t work. He gets used to them also.

    So I hope you can see that it is a major problem, especially since the safety of the campers is paramount. They come first and the Bear always loses.

    In terms of the Wardens, I was not there so I can’t comment on their actions. But, I know many Wardens and other people who specialize in Problem Wildlife and the ones I know first of all don’t want anyone hurt and secondly they don’t want to have to shoot a Bear.

    It may seem that the solution to the bad situation is to trap the Bear and move him somewhere else. But, if you look at the statistics, moving them is also not the answer. A problem Bear in YOUR area will just be a problem Bear in MY area.

    The real solution is not to leave attractants around, to clean up the garbage.

    I hope you can see that it is a problem with a not very happy ending for anyone including the Bear.

    And, you are wrong about one thing, Aussies win up here all the time.

    I am a cowboy of sorts and I live in cowboy country. Some of our best cowboys are Aussies and they win all the time. We are proud of them, too.

    Phone me some time I would like to talk with you. I like people who can help in a bad situation.

    Thanks again:

    Ken Maxwell

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