A Dublin woman had been killed by a male black bear on an oilfield in Alberta, Canada.
Lorna Weafer (36), who emigrated to Canada with her parents, Margaret and Frank, 30 years ago, was working as an instrument technician carrying out electrical work at the Suncor oilfield. The oilfield is located 25 miles north of her home in Fort McMurray.
The incident took place at 2:15pm on Wednesday, May 7. Weafer was exiting a portable washroom when she was attacked.
Six of her co-workers tried to scare off the bear but they could not save her. She died at scene.
Her colleagues blasted air horns, sprayed fire extinguishers and shot a water cannon at the bear who continued to maul Weafer for an hour. The bear would back away for short periods and then come back.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife investigator Mike Ewald said “This bear was very determined.”
Scott Doherty, a spokesman for Canadian labor union, Unifor, told the press “People tried to stop it and do everything they could. Obviously they are fairly horrified at what they saw and witnessed.”
The Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) report that the bear was a mature male. The bear was tracked down by officers and killed.
A family friend told the Evening Herald Weafer’s brothers, Keith and Darren were flying from Thailand and Australia to be with their parents in Canada.
Weafer’s cousin, Dublin actor Alan O'Neill, who plays Hugh in “Sons of Anarchy” said "We are all completely numb and in a state of shock and total disbelief. Lorna was beautiful, funny and full of life.
"I cannot express in words how much she will be missed. I can only pray that we all find strength to brave this storm."
A friend of Weafer’s said “She did very well for herself…The father and mother went out there years ago and the father worked in the oilfields. Lorna followed him into the same profession. She was very successful.
"She was very outgoing, a very dry Irish wit. She always had time for everybody. You hear that all the time, but that is the truth.”
"She was very successful in her career. She was extremely interested in rugby and all sports.
"She grew up with two brothers so she was very tough. She was the middle child."
Police are waiting for a DNA test to determine that they have killed the bear that attacked Weafer. Ewald said the incident was likely predatory and unprovoked.
Bear attacks in North America and Canada are very rare. The last predatory black bear attack in Alberta was in 1991.