Woman Killed by Black Bear While on the Phone With Her Father

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

Her husband sprayed the bear with pepper spray and shot it twice with a gun

Stephanie Blais, 44, was talking on the phone with her father when she was attacked and killed by a black bear in a remote fly-in camp in Canada. CBC News reports Blais was attacked at her family cabin on McKie Lake in Saskatchewan. Blais had used a satellite phone to call her father, Hubert Esquirol, Thursday, Aug. 20, with an update on a malfunctioning water pump. She’d just sent her son, Elie, 9, into the cabin to retrieve an antenna.

Esquirol said his daughter stopped talking and he heard a gurgling noise.

“I waited on the line for two minutes, and I called her name,” he said. “I said hello, and there was no answer. So, I was talking to her on the phone when the bear attacked her.” 

Esquirol waited a couple of minutes and called back, but no one answered. Seven minutes later, his daughter’s husband, Curtis Blais, called. He had been in the cabin’s kitchen about 30 meters away when the attack began.

“Curtis called advising me that a bear attacked her, that he sprayed the bear with pepper spray, and the bear got more angry.”

Esquirol’s son-in-law told him he’d shot the bear twice with a gun before it went down.  

“So, by that time, Stephanie had no pulse. He gave her mouth to mouth, but she was injured beyond the point of recovery.”

Blais was flown to Buffalo Narrows, where she was pronounced dead.

“We’re very surprised by this. I mean bears don’t usually do this,” said Greg Johnson, an inspector with the Ministry of Environment conservation officer services. “They don’t usually have this type of behavior.

The bear, an adult male, is going to be autopsied and examined by authorities. 

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