Polar Bear Attack Boy Leaves Hospital

The 16 year old recovering at Southampton General Hospital after being attacked by a polar bear in Norway has been discharged.

Patrick Flinders has now gone back home to Jersey -he was hailed a hero after punching the 250kg animal on the nose in an attempt to fend off the attack, his father said.

It happened on Friday 5th August 2011 - a 17 year old from Salisbury was killed.

At the time, Terry Flinders, 58, said he would be relieved to have his son back.

"Patrick has a fractured skull and had undergone an operation in Norway to remove small pieces of bone", Mr Flinders said.

"The bear had Patrick's head in its mouth but miraculously he managed to escape. He also suffered arm injuries."

Mr Flinders said his son's face and head are badly swollen but that he spoke to him on the phone and he sounded well.

''He said: 'Dad, I've got a bone to pick with you, that bit you did in the paper where you said if the polar bear had glasses it would have gone for me because I was the chubbiest!' All the nurses had been laughing about it.

''When he tells me off I know he's getting back to normal.''

Earlier, Mr Flinders told how he had been approached in a local restaurant by people praising his son, he said:

 ''They were saying 'are you Patrick's dad? What a hero'. In Jersey he's a star.''

But he admitted he was worried the attack might have affected his son psychologically.

''His scars and all that could be fixed in six months' time but there's got to be some effect on him,'' he said. ''He's human.''

Patrick was smashed across the face and head by the bear, which also ripped his ear and damaged his eye.

Michael ''Spike'' Reid, 29, the expedition leader who shot the bear in the head and 27-year-old fellow leader Andy Ruck left is due to have surgery on Friday 12th August 2011.

Scott Bennell-Smith was also injured - he was sharing a tent with Patrick when it happened. His parents are said to ''extraordinarily relieved'' to have him home, his headmaster said.

Kieran Earley, of Devonport High School for Boys, said the teenager had his jaw broken and lost some teeth after being hit in the face by the bear during the attack:

''It is an extraordinary story. I believe he was in one of the tents that was attacked. During the course of the attack he was hit by the bear and suffered a broken jaw and lost some teeth,'' he said.

The teenagers were part of a group travelling on a British Schools Exploring Society (BSES) expedition, which was camped on the Von Postbreen glacier near Longyearbyen on Svalbard, north of the Norwegian mainland.

On Saturday August 6th 2011, BSES announced it had decided to end the £3,000-per-head expedition on the advice of the Svalbard authorities and in accordance with the wishes of the group leaders.

Police in Svalbard are continuing to investigate the incident but forensic examination into the case could take longer than usual because of the Norway massacre in Oslo and Utoya.

A spokesman for the Governor of Svalbard said items from the camp where the bear attack happened would be sent to the forensic laboratory in Oslo but the results could take ''some time''.

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