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Polar Bear Attack Failings

Norway polar bear attack: failings that left Horatio Chapple at bear's mercy - Telegraph

“The 29 year-old picked up the rifle and pulled the trigger but the gun didn’t fire. Why did this happen?
“The gunman fired again but again it didn’t go off. He fired all four bullets in magazine but none went off. We need to look at the routines of this British company to see that they were in order.”
...it was reported that the bear may have been shot with an old Mauser hunting rifle. The German made, bolt-action weapons are common on the island, locals said.

Expedition leaders are advised that camps should be protected either by trip wires, lookouts thought the night or guard dogs. However, it emerged yesterday that the camp had operated without an overnight lookout or guard dog.
An explosive trip wire designed to scare off approaching animals failed to trigger and without a watchman there was no second line of defence.

“unprecedented amount of ice” Led To Polar Bear Attack | Real Science

Unfortunately a Westerly wind and freak climatic events have led to an unprecedented amount of ice in the fjord meaning we are marooned here for the time being.


"Unprecedented" amount of ice, presumably means that they have not considered seeing this amount of ice before. Since Svalbard lies deep inside the Arctic Circle ice is a fairly common hazard, so whoever made this statement is presumably relying on the "Global Warming" myths that the ice isn't there in summer ...

It would certainly seem that this trip was badly planned, badly managed and appears to have taken no account of the fact that those lovely cuddly Polar Bears (Ursus Maritimus) are 700 - 1400 lbs of pure meat eating killer. Like sharks, they have difficulty with the concept of humans not being part of the food chain.

One of my commenters said:

Four kids badly mauled and one eaten alive in Norway before they managed to shoot the polar bear. Oh if only some sort of sharp shooting Norwegian gunman had been nearby to save the day.

As a non-shooty person the Telegraph article raises some questions:

Do Mauser magazines only have 4 rounds? A google suggests 5.

Is it possible to empty the gun of rounds with the safety on? A google suggests yes. Safety on but bolt not locked.

Alternative, the firing pin was oil/grease lubricated, at low temp the oil congealed enough to hang up the pin. Click. ( check that the firing pin tip hasn't broken off too)

Suggest dry-lube or even lube at such low temps. Also suggest TESTING,

Poor bastard could also have a bad batch of ammo, thought that would be vanishingly unlikely unless he bought Uncle Cheapo's Romanian mixed batch surplus, in which case he deserved what he got.

An unprecedented amount of ice?

You mean, as in, the models didn't predict this much ice at this time of the year?

Say it ain't so!

Sharpshooters not really needed, just tripwire flares and a nightwatchman.

Mauser K98s do indeed hold 5 but the magazine needn't have been full to start with.

It is possible that the bolt was in 'safe and bolt unlocked' rather than 'fire'.
which in my understanding would have allowed the bolt to be operated to extract and eject the bullets, but the weapon not fire.

I don't think it would have been frozen grease as the weapon fired on the fifth attempt. Very old rather than cheapo ammo is a possibility but my guess is Gareth has it right, bolt in wrong position, four rounds failed and ejected, one reinserted, bolt put in correct position, bang.

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