A man aboard a cruise ship in northern Svalbard suffered non life-threatening injuries when he was attacked by a polar bear during a shore excursion Saturday morning, according to The Joint Rescue Coordination Centres of Northern Norway (HRS).
The man is in stable condition after being treated aboard the ship, and one of The Governor of Svalbard’s rescue helicopters brought the man to Longyearbyen Hospital early Saturday afternoon.
“We do not know if it is a passenger or crew member,” HRS Rescue Leader Bård Mortensen told Svalbardposten, adding the specifics of the man’s injuries are not yet known to rescue officials.
The polar bear was shot and killed as a result of the attack at Sjuøyane, which is the northernmost part of Svalbard.
HRS was notified of the attack at about 9:20 a.m. The man was aboard the M/S Bremen, operated by Hapag-Llloyd Cruises of Germany, which has room for 155 passengers and 100 crew. The rescue helicopter reached the ship at about 11:45 a.m. and returned to Longyearbyen at about 1:30 p.m.
It is the first polar bear attack resulting in injury since a group of four visitors from Czech Republic were attacked while camping at Fredheim in April of 2015. One man suffered chest and head injuries, and the leader of the group was fined 10,000 kroner for neglecting to follow proper safety precautions.
The most recent fatality resulting from a polar bear attack occurred during the summer of 2011 when 17-year-old Horatio Chapple was attacked in his tent while camping with a British school group.