Strange Exits: An Airborne Bear Killed Two Canadians

Would you believe an airborne bear once killed two people on a Canadian highway? It’s true. The bear was not riding on any vehicle, it was flying through the air by itself at the time, probably quite surprised to be in the air, if it was still alive in those last moments. Here’s the story:

June 6, 2011, 

Two people were killed … after a freak series of collisions sent a 300-pound bear rocketing through their SUV on a rural road in Quebec.

The driver of the SUV, a 25-year-old Gatineau woman, and a passenger, a 40-year-old Ottawa man, died on impact. A second passenger, the driver’s boyfriend, was sent to hospital with minor injuries.

A young bear had shuffled onto Highway 148 about 50 kilometres northwest of Ottawa when it was hit by an eastbound car, said Const. Martin Fournel of the MRC des Collines-de-l’Outaouais police.

The car, a Pontiac Sunfire, flipped the bear into the air on impact and into the path of a Nissan Pathfinder in the opposing westbound lane.
“Coming down, it (the bear) hit the windshield at a certain angle and went right through, hit the driver, hit the passenger sitting behind her and went through the back window,” Fournel said.


Two Canadians died instantly in a freak accident when a car hit a 440-pound (200-kg) black bear and sent the animal flying straight through the windshield of an oncoming vehicle, local media said Wednesday.

The bear’s body hit the 25-year-old driver and a 40-year-old man sitting behind her and then shot out of the back window. The bear also died.
The accident happened Monday night in a rural area about 25 miles north of the federal capital Ottawa.

“We don’t see (this) often, even if we live in the country. Lots of deer, but collisions with a bear and two people died? That’s really rare,” local police spokesman Martin Fournel told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
Collisions between vehicles and animals are common in Canada, which has a healthy population of large wild animals such as moose and deer. …


The driver of the SUV, a 25-year-old Ottawa woman, was pronounced dead at the scene, along with a 40-year-old Gatineau man later identified as Steven Leon, who was sitting in the seat behind her. The woman’s name has not yet been released.

Her 28-year-old boyfriend, sitting in the front of the SUV, suffered minor injuries and was taken to Hull Hospital. The two male occupants of the Pontiac Sunfire were not hurt.

On Tuesday, investigators ruled out alcohol as a factor in the crash, which happened about 40 kilometres northwest of Ottawa. They were still trying to determine other details.

Police believe the car, which was lower to the ground than the SUV and had a more aerodynamic design, must have thrust the bear — a male, or boar — up into the air and into the other lane.

“The SUV, being larger, would have driven right into the path of the bear as it was coming down,” Omar Dabaghi-Pacheco of CBC News Ottawa reported from the scene.  …

Nearby residents also suggested that bear-baiting stations placed close to the highways during the hunting season may be luring the bears to the roads.


Wow. What a weird way to go. Having my own PTSD, I feel for her boyfriend who survived. What does something like that do to you mentally for the rest of your life?

As I like to say, unlikely things happen every day.

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