The man credited with saving his friends in Friday's polar bear attack says the tragic event might have been avoided.

Eric Fortier, his girlfriend and another couple were on a canoe trip in the Katannilik Territorial Park near Kimmirut.

All four are from Gatineau, Quebec.

Fortier says the bear ripped through their tents while they were sleeping.

The attack left 25 year old Patricia Doyon with claw wounds and stitches on nine parts of her body.

"When the bear pulled me or pushed me to the ground I was just thinking that it's not possible, it cannot end like this."

Her boyfriend 31-year old Alain Parenteau is in worse condition with wounds to his side and head.

There's one on his neck that just missed his jugular vein. Doyon says they will both recover from their injuries.

Doyon credits her friend Eric Fortier with saving all of their lives.

Fortier and his girlfriend Anne Dumouchel were sleeping in a second tent. He says their screams scared the bear, and it moved to the other couple.

Fortier says when he saw the polar bear attacking his friends, he acted.

He used a 3-inch pocket knife.

"I ran after them and I had a knife so started to stab the bear under his lower jaw. it seemed to have work and he went away after that. when you see your friends getting hurt you have to do something."

Fortier says he's relieved everyone survived, but he wonders if the traumatic event could have been avoided.

Fortier says another group of tourists warned wildlife officers the day before that a polar bear was in the area.

"They knew we were out there, Obviously we were at the wrong place and the wrong time, but I think it would have been possible to have some type of posting, warning about bear sightings."

The director of parks for Nunavut says a wildlife officer went to the area after receiving the complaint, and no bear was found at that time.

The Katannilik territorial park is closed while officers look for the polar bear.

Nunavut's department of sustainable development says it may never find it.

It says this is the first time there's been an encounter involving injuries from a polar bear in Katannilik park.

Nunavut's director of wildlife, Stephen Atkinson says the bear responsible for the attack could already be far away.

He says bears can move great distances in a short amount of time.

Nunavut's director of parks, David Monteith says if the bear is found, it will be shot.

He also says the park will reopen, even if wildlife officials and hunters don't locate the bear.

Monteith won't say how long they'll wait, but he does say that when it does re-opens, tourists traveling in the area will be given an advisory.