Herald on Sunday

Four injured in bear rampage


A brown bear wreaked havoc for eight hours in northern Japan on Friday, rampaging through a military base, forcing an airport and 42 schools to shut and injuring four people before being shot dead.

The 6ft-long male, thought to be five years old, caused chaos in the Higashi suburb of Sapporo after first being spotted on a street at 3.30am. It was not until 11.15am that hunters were able to shoot the bear.

Toshishi Ogasawara told the Hokkaido Shimbun newspaper he was taking rubbish out after 5:30am when he was confronted by the bear.

“As I tried to run away my legs got tangled and I fell over,” the 75-old said. “The bear jumped on my back and I could feel it standing on me. At that very moment, when I thought I was going to die, it ran away,” he said. Mr Ogasawara suffered claw injuries to his lower back.

The other victims were a man in his 70s, a woman in her 80s and a soldier on guard at the Self-Defence Forces Okadama military base.

A police helicopter and dozens of police cars tracked the bear before four hunters cornered it in the grounds of the military base.

Bears are a frequent sight in rural Japan, with a number of deaths reported each year.

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