South Slave

‘Heroism’ of Hay River couple who helped rescue woman from bear


The actions of two Hay River residents to help a young woman being attacked by a bear last week were “nothing short of heroism.”

Hay River South MLA Rocky Simpson made the remarks at the Northwest Territories’ Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.

The woman, who has not been publicly named, was seriously injured in a bear attack in the town early on Friday.

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Simpson described how Shelly Wood and Roy Helmer helped the woman after hearing the attack outside their home, as first reported by NNSL and CBC

Wood had decided to stay up later than usual that night to knit, Simpson said.

“Whether or not it was fate that she stayed up, it was fortune that she did,” said the MLA.

Around 2:30am, Wood heard a commotion and saw someone being “viciously attacked” by a bear. She responded quickly, Simpson said, and threw a pair of boots at the bear, then ran back inside to wake her spouse for help. 

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“Roy, unaware of what was really happening, awoke from a deep sleep and sprang into action. Without hesitation, he ran outside,” Simpson described.

Helmer threw another boot at the bear. When it wouldn’t back away, he threw a heavy cement statue.

That caused the animal to momentarily retreat, giving Helmer enough time to pull the young woman to safety in his home. 

“Without thought for their own safety, Roy Helmer and Shelly Wood rushed to the aid of the young lady in distress. If ever there was an event that shows heroism, this is such an event,” Simpson said.

The woman was medevaced to Edmonton following the attack.

 “I would like her and her family to know that they are in our thoughts and prayers,” said Simpson.

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