As a few people in the village know, I spend quite a lot of my travelling round the world working in different locations for major oil companies. At the moment I am in Russia, on the island called Sakhalin, which for you globe trotters is just up from Japan. Because of its location this was the first line of defence between USSR and the imperial America, but that’s another story for another feature.

 

Last weekend I decide to get some fresh air and took a drive down my local Raikes Lane, just to remind myself of home, but without a dog or meeting another soul!

 

Now you all know the nursery rhyme “If you go down to the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise”. Well that could not be truer, as you can see from the picture I’ve attached. Every year two or three locals are killed and several mauled by the local furry inhabitants.

At the moment the summer has nearly finished and they are foraging for food before going into winter habitation. They hibernate from November through the winter, when the days turn to sub zero for 6 months and the island is covered with a blanket of white snow. They wake up around Mach time and have a summer of eating salmon and wild berries. Plus the occasional local or foreigner, who thinks they are cute or doesn’t look over his shoulder. In my case a 4x4, which they have been known to attack, so I wasn’t being too clever getting so close.

 

We do get reports and warning nearly ever week, just to keep us aware but it doesn’t always help.

 

Incident description report

On the Sept.18, 2008, at 09.43 am, a bear attacked a contractor staff employed by Diesel Company, outside the perimeter of the KCA Deutag camp. IP ( Injured Party) employed by company "Diesel" was working as welder together with colleagues enhancing the perimeter fence.

After a verbal briefing (Tool Box talk) from supervisor, IP with co-workers proceeded with installation of razor wire at the bottom of the fence to prevent bears access. Prior the work commencement no bear was detected in the vicinity. Two security guards monitored the working area. During the work break, the IP was the only person outside the fence. The IP decided to go into the direction of the forest to do his needs. The alternative of walking to the camp toilet facilities (150 meters walking distance) was not considered.   

Having encountered the bear, the IP started running back to the campsite with the bear chasing him. The IP tripped, fell and protected himself against the bear with a piece of wood.

The three other contractor staff and security guards, who witnessed the event, rushed to the fence and started shouting and throwing objects (angle iron, stones etc.) over the fence towards the bear and managed to scare it away from IP. The IP suffered minor cuts and bruises and was treated in hospital

 

So remember it’s not always a teddy bears’ picnic if you go down to the woods today, even Raikes Lane, especially if you’re caught short.

 

Attachments:
Download this file (sakhalin_map.pdf)sakhalin_map.pdf[Where is Sakhalin?]152 kB

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