A polar bear came near Longyearbyen on Saturday night, taking a swim before going ashore at the cape across the bay on the west side of town, but officials from the governor’s office who responded by helicopter followed the bear as it moved away from town without need to sedate or take other protective measures.
The governor’s office was notified about the bear about 8:30 p.m. when it was seen swimming at Forkastningsfjellet, according to Svalbardposten. The bear went ashore at Revneset, where officials spotted it from the helicopter, keeping about a kilometer away from it at 1,000 meters in altitude.
“The bear turned quite quickly,” Police Chief Lt. Anders Haugerud told the newspaper. “It almost turned at the same time we took off. We followed it for one hour before leaving it at Carolineland. After that we do not know where it went, it disappeared into the fjord.”
Bears are frequently seen across the channel during summer and fall, on occasion ransacking cabins or causing other disturbances. They also occasionally visits the shores west of town, including one last summer who killed a man in his tent at Longyearbyen Camping.