In a heartbreaking turn of events, a Canadian couple met a tragic end while camping in the breathtaking Banff National Park, their lives cut short by a relentless grizzly bear. Doug Inglis and Jenny Gusse, both aged 62, were not just camping enthusiasts; they were seasoned hikers and outdoor lovers who shared a deep connection with nature. As they ventured into the wilderness, they sent a haunting message to their family, marking their last contact before the fateful incident.
The picturesque Banff National Park, nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, is known for its awe-inspiring beauty, but on that ill-fated Friday, it became the stage for a heart-wrenching tragedy. The couple, along with their beloved 7-year-old border collie, embarked on a seven-day hiking adventure, sharing their journey with Doug’s uncle, Colin Inglis, via a satellite communication device.
Late in the afternoon, as the sun began its descent, Doug and Jenny decided to set up camp near the tranquil Red Deer River in Panther Valley. They had intended to reach their planned camping spot, but unforeseen delays led them to choose this spot for the night. Little did they know that this decision would become a matter of life and death.
As darkness cloaked the wilderness, their situation took a terrifying turn. Colin Inglis received a chilling SOS message that would send shivers down his spine. Their Garmin inReach device flashed a message that sent alarm bells ringing: “Bear attack bad.” These ominous words triggered an immediate response, with Parks Canada officials swiftly notified by the couple’s desperate plea for help.
Colin recalled the moment he received that harrowing message, saying, “I got a call from their Garmin [inReach device] that said, ‘Bear attack bad.’ The alarm bells were going off, ‘This is not good’ — that means there’d been some engagement. You’re completely helpless to know what’s going on.”
A rescue operation was swiftly initiated, with a helicopter deployed to reach the distressed couple. However, adverse weather conditions forced the helicopter to turn back, leaving the couple at the mercy of the wilderness for longer than anyone could bear.
An on-the-ground response team mounted ATVs and embarked on a treacherous three-hour trek, eventually reaching Doug and Jenny’s campsite in the dead of night. What they found was a scene of unimaginable horror – the lifeless bodies of the couple they were desperately trying to rescue, alongside their faithful canine companion.
It was clear that Doug and Jenny had fought valiantly for their lives, discharging a can of bear spray in an attempt to ward off the relentless grizzly. However, this determined animal proved impervious to their efforts. The tent had been crushed, and their e-readers lay open, a chilling reminder of the calm before the storm.
When the rescue team finally reached the scene, they were confronted by the same grizzly that had caused this devastating tragedy. The bear was still brimming with aggression, leaving the team with no choice but to use lethal force to protect themselves. In Colin’s words, “In their words, the bear was intent on killing them.”
As investigations continue, an autopsy will be conducted on the grizzly to confirm its identity as the assailant responsible for the deaths of Doug and Jenny. This couple, who had met at university and remained inseparable ever since, had become victims of a rare and tragic encounter. It marked the first time in decades that a grizzly had claimed human lives inside Banff National Park, a grim reminder of the unpredictable nature of the wild.
The picturesque landscapes of Banff National Park now bear witness to a sorrowful chapter in its history, where the tranquil beauty of nature turned into a tragic tale of loss and survival. The memories of Doug Inglis and Jenny Gusse, who set out on an adventure that ended in tragedy, will forever be etched in the annals of the park they loved so dearly.