A Canadian woman who was mauled by a grizzly bear died when her husband tried to shoot the bear, but the bullet ricocheted off a tree and struck her in the chest.
The details of Claudia Huber's 2014 death were released on Dec. 23 after a deliberate effort by Yukon's chief medical examiner to delay the report. Yukon Chief Coroner Kirsten Macdonald told CNN she waited to release the report to give Huber's husband, Matthias Liniger, time to grieve and process his wife's death before laying the additional details on him.
"What transpired at that property on that day was an absolute, catastrophic collision of events," Macdonald told the CBC.
Huber and Liniger were home in their Yukon cabin on Oct. 18, 2014 when Liniger heard his dog barking loudly. When he went outside he spotted a grizzly bear, and took the dog inside.
But the apparently hungry, 375-pound bear wasn't going to let his prey get away so easily, and a police report of the incident says the bear did a lap around the single-story house before looking in through a window.
"When the bear put his front paws on the window glass, the window gave way and the bear came crashing into the living room," the police report said.
The bear tried to overtake the dog while Huber and Liniger ran outside. They each ran into their own cars as the bear followed them outside, but the grizzly jumped on the hood of Huber's car. When Liniger leaned on his horn, the bear was momentarily driven off by the noise, but it circled back when Huber left her car and made a dash for Liniger's vehicle.
"When Ms. Huber exited the vehicle, the bear attacked her," the report said.
Liniger quickly ran inside the house and retrieved his gun, returning outside to find "the bear had drug Ms. Huber approximately [65 feet] across a creek and up onto the opposite bank."
Liniger fired several rounds at the bear, two of which struck the grizzly, according to the CBC. After expending his ammunition, he ran inside to get more and resumed firing at the bear. But a third bullet was deflected off of a tree and killed Huber when it hit her chest.
Liniger told CBC the release of the report brought back memories and emotions from the day his wife died, but said it also brought him closure.
"I had two choices," he said. "Either I go into the woods and leave myself to the wolves or I move on. And, Claudia is a person who would have kicked my butt and said, 'You'd better move on.'"
He told the CBC he remembers the expression on his wife's face as the bear mauled her.
"I was panicking," he said. "It was a wild, mean grizzly laying on top of Claudia's back and she was looking at me with her big eyes."
Macdonald, the medical examiner, said Liniger did the right thing, in spite of the way the events turned out.
"Let's be clear. The attack wasn't going to stop. Had that bear not been killed, he would have continued the attack and he likely would have killed [Huber]," she said. "It wasn't going to stop unless that bear was dead. There was no other option."