POLAR BEAR RANSACKS CABIN AT FREDHEIM: Window and furniture in unoccupied emergency shelter at historic hut damaged before tour group members chase it away

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Photos by Karoline Tveråen

A polar bear broke into the emergency room of the cabin area at Fredheim on Thursday afternoon, damaging a window and interior furnishings, before it was chased away by a tour group visiting the historic site, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

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A polar bear that broke into an emergency room at Fredheim on Thursday afternoon is observed near the historic cabin area by a tour group member. Photo by Karoline Tveråen.

The break-in, first reported Saturday by Svalbardposten, occurred while two field inspectors living at the station were away.  Karoline Tveråen, a member of the four-member tour group, told the newspaper the bear was easily frightened by the snowmobiles as they approached the cabin.

“The bear was curious, but as soon as it realized that we were humans, he calmly wandered away,” she said. “It was all very undramatic.”

The governor’s office sent one of its helicopters to the site, but was unable to locate the bear, according to Svalbardposten. The encounter at the cabin about 60 kilometers northeast of Longyearbyen came hours after a bear was seen near several kilometers east of town and was chased into the mountains northeast of town.

The field inspectors have repaired the damage “as well as possible,” Police Chief Lt. Taina Bjørkås told Svalbardposten.