World

Ice-skating bear kills Russian circus director

An ice-skating bear with a Russian circus turned on its trainers on Wednesday, killing the circus director and seriously wounding another man during a rehearsal in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan.

An ice-skating bear with a visiting Russian circus turned on its trainers on Wednesday, killing the circus director and seriously wounding another man during a rehearsal in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan.

Kurmangazy Isanayev, the director of the arena in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, said workers with the visiting Russian troupe managed to drag the two men away from the bear and closed the exits until rescue workers arrived.

Police shot the bear dead, Isanayev said.

The circus's 25-year-old director, Dmitry Potapov, was reportedly dragged across the ice rink during the rehearsal by the bear before a 29-year-old employee attempted a rescue and was also seriously hurt, according to reports from news agencies RIA Novosti and Agence-France Presse.

The incident was not the first time a visiting Russian bear has been involved in a deadly attack in Kyrgyzstan.

In 2002 a bear on loan to the Bishkek city zoo attacked and killed a small child who had reached out to pet it. The animal's aggressive behaviour in that incident was blamed on malnourishment.

Bears trained to perform on ice skates have been a staple of Russian circus troupes, with some, in a standard stunt, also equipped with hockey equipment, including helmets and sticks.

With files from The Associated Press