The Irish father of a young man who fought and killed the polar bear that mauled a group of teenagers in the Arctic last week spoke to the press yesterday about the terrifying ordeal.

Peter Reid, originally from Bangor County Down, said he had received an email from his son Mike from who is recovering in hospital in Norway with serious head and neck injuries following Friday’s attack.

The 29-year-old raced to help three boys who were under attack by the 7 foot bear. Mike Reid punched, kicked and finally shot the animal that had moments earlier taken the life of 17-year-old Horatio Chapple.

Speaking to the BBC, Reid senior said: 'He told us the bear attacked the tent with three people in it, and he and another leader went to help and were viciously attacked by the bear.

'He managed to get away, ran to get a gun and shot the bear.' He added that his son wrote that he was completely devastated at Horatio’s death.

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Mike, who is also known as Spike, had taken time off work at the Royal Geographical Society to volunteer as a team leader on the 80-strong expedition, which was organized by the British Schools Exploring Society.

Other campers injured in the shocking attack included team leader Andrew Ruck, 27, and trip members Patrick Flinders, 17, and Scott Bennell-Smith, 16.

The campers had placed trip wires placed around their tents to warn of approaching animals, but the wires - which are connected to a shotgun or flare - were not triggered when the roaming bear entered the campsite.

Crew remove the corpse of the polar bear that killed a British teen and injured others on Arctic youth expeditionAP