Suncor worker killed by bear, family issues statement

The family of Lorrna Weafer, who was killed by a bear while working at Suncor Energy's base plant on Wednesday afternoon, released a statement.

"We know the manner in which she died has led to a focus on her death, but we would like to share some insight into Lorna's life and her spirit," begins the statement released on Friday.

The instrument technician, working at a base plant was 25 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, was attacked after stepping out of a mobile trailer washroom. Co-workers tried to use shovels and rocks to dislodge the male black bear.

The employee was pronounced deceased on the scene. Weafer was 36 years old.

The RCMP along with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (AESRD) – Fish and Wildlife Division responded to the scene and the suspected animal was put down.

Roland Lefort, Unifor Local 707A president, said the attack was unusual.

"The bear just attacked," he told the Edmonton Sun. "We live and work in the boreal forest and we interact with bears all the time in our homes and in our workplace – this was not a normal bear. There was something wrong with that bear."

Suncor is working with the appropriate authorities and will complete a full investigation.

Here is the full statement from the Weafer family:

We know the manner in which she died has led to a focus on her death, but we would like to share some insight into Lorna's life and her spirit.

Lorna Weafer was born in Ireland thirty-six years ago, immigrated to Canada with her family as a child and moved to Fort McMurray in 1981.

Lorna's warmth and compassion knew no bounds. She had a busy full life, loved her family and her dog.

She absolutely adored children and had volunteered as a Big Sister.

Lorna was a warm, conscientious person and she made fast friends.

Although Lorna had only been working with Suncor as an instrumentation tech since October, she was extremely well-liked and had many friends at the company.

Two weeks ago Lorna lost her beloved dog Abby. Abby had been her pal for 15 years.

Lorna was incredibly organized. She was an avid photographer, and was very artistic.

She had been talking about going back to study and become a psychologist because she loved helping people – she'd have helped anyone. And she often did.

She will be greatly missed by her immediate and extended family, and her many, many friends.

On behalf of our family we'd like to recognize the co-workers who tried to help Lorna. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We understand you are grieving as well and we are sending you our best regards.

Due to the sudden and tragic circumstances of Lorna's death, we are asking for privacy while we grieve.

Thank you