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Scottish tourist mauled by bear through car window in Romania



A Scottish holidaymaker has had a lucky escape after being bitten by a brown bear in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains.

The “mummy bear” clamped its jaws round Moira Gallacher’s hand while she tried to take a photo with the window of the car she was travelling in down.

The 72-year-old from West Lothian has put her arm’s survival down to the fact she was wearing a “thick, padded Marks and Spencer’s jacket”.

Ms Gallacher arrived in Bucharest on Sunday with her friend Charmian Widdowson, who previously lived and worked in Romania.

On Monday, the pair travelled north west into the Carpathian Mountains near Vidraru Dam when they came face to face with two bears.

“We saw these bears – a mummy bear, and a baby – they were gorgeous,” Ms Widdowson said.

“But they weren’t gorgeous.

“The mummy bear was hungry, and thought my friend was going to be lunch.

“She was wearing a thick Marks and Spencer jacket and the poor bear got more jacket than arm.”

Ms Gallacher was taken to hospital by ambulance.

She told Observator News: “I come from Scotland,” before adding: “My arm is sore.”

She said: “We were in the car and we were going to take a picture. And the bear came up to the window.”

The window was rolled down and a picture of the bear taken before the attack – but Ms Gallacher’s phone has been lost.

Ms Gallacher is still recovering in hospital but expects to be discharged on Wednesday.

“I’m a very lucky woman,” she told STV news.

Charmian Widdowson, who previously lived and worked in Romania.TVR

“I was wearing a padded jacket and a top and another top – that’s what saved my arm. I’ve been very, very lucky.

“The shock has set in today, but everything’s ok now.”

Charmian Widdowson said: “We were walking through Transfagarasan and we saw only the bear, without the mother and the little one.

“I tried to take a picture through the window, but it didn’t turn out well. We were going a little bit further and it was a place where we could turn the car around.

“I turned the car around and got off. And they were there, and I said, there’s no curve here, let’s stop and take a picture. So I went down the window to take a good picture. I thought he wanted to be friends.”

“The bear came and wanted to get into the car, but he started getting into the car and bit my friend.”

Charmian said she think’s the bear came over because he “heard” her and Moira talking about getting something to eat.

“My friend said, let’s get something to eat.

“No, you are not allowed to give food. Absolutely nothing, nothing, nothing.

“And I think he heard it and decided he had to eat my friend instead.”

Romania is home to Europe’s largest population of European brown bears. They are the largest terrestrial carnivores in Central Europe, reaching towering sizes of just over 7ft (2.2m) and weighing up to 350kg.

They are incredibly fast and can run at speeds of 30mph as well as being excellent climbers.

There are believed to be 6,000 of the bears living in the Carpathian Mountains.

The bears go into winter dens before the end of the year and emerge in March and April.

Andreea Gheordunescu, manager of the Curtea de Argeș Municipal Hospital: “At the Curtea de Argeș Municipal Hospital, a foreign patient presented with wounds on her right hand, wounds caused by a bear bite.”

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