Nfld. & Labrador

Driver narrowly misses polar bear on commute to St. Anthony

How would you react if you came across a polar bear on your morning commute? Amy Randell decided to turn around to try to get proof.

Amy Randell was shaken, not scared, and turned back for a photo

Amy Randell was hoping to snap a picture like this of a polar bear she saw on the Great Northern Peninsula, but couldn't find the animal. (Assiniboine Park Conservancy)

Amy Randell thought no one would believe her, so almost immediately after a polar bear forced her foot to the brakes, sending her car sliding, she turned back for proof.

"I was like, 'Holy crap, there's a polar bear," she said. "So of course I reversed. I wanted to get a picture."

After a close encounter with a polar bear on the way to work from Great Brehat to St. Anthony on Newfoundland's Northern Peninsula, Randell decided to go bear hunting — but only for a photo.

Randell told CBC Radio's On The Go that the bear came running right across the road on her morning drive.

Amy Randell, right, alongside Deon Randell and son Cruz Randell. (Submitted by Amy Randell)

"I was pretty shaken up," she said. "I slammed on my brakes, and I skidded I'd say about 30 feet." 

Randell said she had her eyes on the animal for about 30 seconds, but was so shaken she can't remember how big it was.

Even so, she decided to turn her car around to look for the bear once more, hoping for a photo to show her husband and six-year-old son.

Cruz Randell, Amy Randell's six-year-old son, poses for a photo inside polar bear tracks he found in Great Brehat earlier in March. (Submitted by Amy Randell)

"There's no way that there's somebody who's going [believe you when you] say you hit a polar bear or almost hit a polar bear," she said.

Her search to see the animal a second time was unsuccessful, though. But she did meet another co-worker along the way who saw the animal too.

No fear

Randell says there have been plenty of polar bear sightings around the tip of the Northern Peninsula, and it's not her family's first time seeing one, either.

Doubling back to snap a picture is probably not a recommended bear safety move, but Randell says she has no fear.

"There's a lot of people that's afraid of polar bears, but they're only doing what they are supposed to, to come look for food. If you leave them alone I guess they won't hurt you."

With files from On The Go