Polar bear shot dead after attacking tourist on Svalbard

The victim, a French tourist, was hospitalized in Longyearbyen but is not seriously injured.

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - August 8, 2022
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A French woman was injured in a polar bear attack while camping along Isfjorden on Svalbard. (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)

A French woman is hospitalized and a polar bear is dead after the bear attacked the woman on the Norwegian Arctic archipelago Svalbard Monday morning.

“The Governor was alarmed just before 08:30 this morning, and went to the scene with helicopter,” said Stein Olav Bredli, Chief Superintendent with the Svalbard Governor’s office.

The woman, who was wounded in the arm by the attacking polar bear, was one of 25 people staying at a tent camp in Nordfjorden on the northern shores of Isfjorden. She is currently at the hospital in Longyearbyen and is not seriously wounded.

Bredli said shots were fired and the polar bear was severely wounded. The police officers arriving to the area later decided to kill the bear.

Two years ago, a Dutch man was killed as the bear attacked him while sleeping in the tent at the campsite next to Longyearbyen airport.

In 2018, a cruise ship guide was wounded, but survived, a polar bear attack at Sjuøyene north of Nordaustlandet on Svalbard. The bear was shot dead by fellow crew members.

In 2011, a 17-years old British student was killed by a polar bear at a camp-site near the Von Post glacier, about 40 kilometers from Longyearbyen.

In the period from 1971 to 1995, four other people were killed by polar bears at Svalbard. Two of the fatal attacks happened in 1995.