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Bear kills worker at Suncor oilsands site

By COS staff
| www.cos-mag.com

A Suncor Energy employee was attacked by a large black bear and killed on Wednesday afternoon. The female employee was working at the company's main oilsands site, about 25 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, Alta. 

The employee was pronounced deceased on the scene, Suncor said.

The RCMP along with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development responded to the scene and the animal was put down.

"We are shocked by this very unusual incident and there are no words to express the tragedy of this situation. Our thoughts and prayers go out to family, friends and co-workers," said Mark Little, Suncor executive vice-president, upstream. "All of us need to focus on personal safety and I would urge everyone to be extremely vigilant in dealing with wildlife."

Suncor does provide wildlife training to its employees.

Notification of family is ongoing and the name of the individual will not be released without their consent, Suncor said.

Suncor is working with the appropriate authorities and will complete a full investigation. Barrie Harrison, a spokesperson from Alberta Occupational Health and Safety, said it would be looking into exactly what happened at the time of the attack, including if the worker was working alone.

Harrison told the CBC attacks like this are very rare in the province.

“I do know that, certainly from an Occupational Health and Safety perspective, this is the first that I’m aware of having a worker either seriously injured or killed by a bear of any variety.”

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