Polar bear attack hero appears in public

The British man who shot a polar bear after it attacked and killed one of the students he was leading on an expedition to Norway has appeared in public for the first time since the incident.

Michael Reid, 29, was invited to be the guest of Sir Ranulph Fiennes as he collected an honorary doctorate at Plymouth University.

Mr Reid was left heavily scarred after his encounter with the bear, but his actions are said to have undoubtedly saved the lives of other students. The attack took place during a camping trip to the Von Postbreen glacier on the Svalbard islands to the north of Norway.

Horatio Chapple, 17, was killed by the animal and two other students: Scot Bennell-Smith, 16, and Patrick Flinders, 16, were badly injured. Andy Ruck, 27, who was leading the expedition along with Mr Reid, was also mauled. Before he managed to shoot the carnivore in the head, Mr Reid had his jaw broken, received damage to an eye socket and fractured his skull.

Mr Reid has undergone several operations to his face and spent over two weeks in hospital following the attack. He still has some scars as a reminder of the incident. He was given a standing ovation by students at Plymouth after Sir Ranulph introduced him using the words “courageous” and “brave” to describe his actions in Norway.

Michael was leading a group during a British Schools Exploring Society expedition. An investigation into what happened is being conducted by the organisation, but it thought that a ‘bear scarer’ failed to activate after the animal walked over a tripwire.

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