TALLINN's No one was injured when the official car of Estonia'sDefense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo with the minister in the back seat hit a bear onthe Tallinn-Tartu road 109 kilometers fromTallinnthis morning.
The accident took place at 8:40 a.m.when the driver taking the minister from Tartuto the town of Paide and was unableto avoid hitting a large bear that had suddenly run onto the road near theImavere road crossing.
"Aaviksoo was in the back seat of the Audi A6 at the time of theaccident, had his seat belt fastened and was reading a book," said RiinaVandre, adviser to the minister.
The bear managed to cross the road to the other side after the accident buthad to be shot later by hunters called to the scene.
The front of the minister's car was damaged and needs repair.
Vandre said Aaviksoo was on his way to meet with JarvaCounty governor Ullar Vahtramaewhen the accident happened.
Peep Mannil, unit head at the Ministry of Environment, said road accidentsinvolving bears were rare in Estonia.
"We have two or three bears on the average hit by a vehicle annually.In recent years accidents like this have become more frequent because thenumber of bears has grown," he said.
According to local law, wild animals killed in accidents belong to the localhunting society.