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Worker at Swedish animal park dies after bear mauling


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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — An employee at one of Europe's largest predator parks died Friday of bite wounds after being attacked by a bear.

The 19-year-old man was cleaning an enclosure at the Orsa Rovdjurspark in northern Sweden when a brown bear that had dug its way under a fence mauled him.

The employee, who was not identified, was rushed by helicopter to the hospital, where he later died.

"It is fact that the kid was inside the enclosure when he was attacked," police spokesman Alexander Marik said. "That we know."

Four visitors, described as a family, witnessed the attack, but were unharmed.

They were inside the enclosure to see what it was like to work as an animal keeper by getting close to the animals and helping to feed them, park spokesman Sven Brunberg said.

The visitors fled the enclosure when the attack started, Marik said.

"I don't know what happened in this case. I will leave that up to the investigators to find out," he added.

The 2-year-old bear was euthanized after the attack, Brunberg said.

The attack is being investigated as a workplace accident.

Orsa Rovdjurspark, located 330 kilometers (205 miles) north of Stockholm, has predators that include different species of bears, leopards, lynxes and wolves.

The park said on its Facebook page it would remain closed for the rest of day but would reopen Saturday.

In 2012, a female employee at the Kolmarden Wildlife Park, south of Stockholm, was killed by a pack of wolves she had helped raise.

A former animal park manager was later found guilty of manslaughter by breaching Swedish workplace safety laws. The park was fined 4 million kronor ($493,000) for negligence.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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JAN M. OLSEN

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