Bear kills policeman in woods

A policeman has died after being mauled by a bear in Romania, an official said today.

Tiberiu Postoaca, head of the ambulance service in Transylvanian Covasna county, said the 30-year-old officer died after suffering a heart attack while being taken to hospital.

The policeman and a friend were walking through the woods yesterday when the bear attacked. The friend managed to run and call for help.

Laszlo Bela, the chairman of a hunters' association, said most bears are currently hibernating and he believes the animal might have attacked to protect its cubs in a nearby den.

Mr Bela said the number of bears in the area has increased to 600 after strict hunting regulations were imposed. Hunters are allowed to kill 20 bears annually in Covasna.