Page last updated at 14:36 GMT, Thursday, 22 October 2009 15:36 UK

Russian circus bear kills manager

Russian bear in the wild - file photo
Trained bears are popular in Russian circuses

An ice-skating bear with a touring Russian circus has killed a circus manager and seriously injured a trainer in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek.

Kyrgyz officials said the bear turned on the manager, 25-year-old Dmitry Potapov, during a rehearsal.

The bear, who had skates on at the time, severely mauled another circus worker who tried to rescue the manager.

Kyrgyz police shot and killed the bear when they arrived on the scene. It is not clear what caused the attack.

The five-year-old bear attacked Mr Potapov, dragging him across the ice and leaving him with fatal injuries.

A 29-year-old circus employee who tried to rescue Mr Potapov was badly injured and is in a critical condition, said Kyrgyz doctor Gulnara Tashibekova.

The director of the circus arena in Bishkek said Russian circus workers dragged the two men away from the bear and closed the arena's exits until the police arrived.

Bears on ice are common in Russian circuses. Some are equipped with helmets and sticks and trained to play hockey.

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