The woman killed by a black bear in the Alberta oil sands on May 7 has been identified as 36-year-old Lorna Weafer.
The instrument technician was walking back from the washroom on Wednesday night, Alberta Fish and Wildlife investigator Mike Ewald told CBC News, when the bear came out of nowhere. Seven co-workers used fire extinguishers, a water cannon and an air horn to try and scare the bear away after it dragged their colleague off, the Canadian Press reported, but to no avail.
“This bear was very determined,” Ewald told CBC News, adding that the attack lasted about an hour.
Though officials from Canada’s Occupational Health and Safety ministry, as well as Alberta Fish and Wildlife, were looking into ways the death could have been prevented, wildlife experts said the attack was “predatory in nature,” according to CBC News, meaning there was not much anyone could have done.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police euthanized a bear they found near the site of the attack and were conducting DNA testing to confirm it was the animal that did the killing.
“With wildlife incidents like this … it also reminds that’s exactly what they are—wildlife—and not predictable and there’s no cookie-cutter solution for dealing with human-wildlife conflict,” Ewald said to CBC News.
“It was … seven people that were working in a group area and she was attacked by this bear out of that group and dragged off,” Scott Doherty, a spokesman for the labor union Unifor, told the Canadian Press.
The workers were in a busy industrial area so were not carrying bear spray, which they normally do while in the bush, Suncor told the Canadian Press. However the time of year—the end of hibernation—can bring out predation in animals, wildlife officials said.
The Dublin-born Weafer had lived in Canada since her parents emigrated there from Ireland 30 years ago, the Irish Independent reported. Her cousin Alan O’Neill plays Hugh in Sons of Anarchy.
"Heartbreaking and devastating news for all my family at the very tragic passing of my beautiful vivacious cousin in Canada,” he tweeted, as quoted by the Irish Independent.