Svalbard, polar bear, attack, cruise, tui, Hapag, ship, attack, killed
Governor of Svalbard

Polar bear killed after cruise ship attack in Svalbard

The animal was killed after wounding the man shortly after a Hapag-Lloyd cruise ship docked.

A polar bear that attacked a cruise ship employee on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago has been shot dead, authorities said on Sunday.

The unnamed German man aged in his 40s suffered head injuries shortly after the MS Bremen of TUI Group’s Hapag-Lloyd Cruises ship landed on the island of Spitzbergen, the news agency AFP reports.

“The bear was killed by another employee on the boat,” police commissioner Ole Jakob Malmo confirmed.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises commented that it was in “self-defence”, but company spokesman Moritz Krause added: “We greatly regret this incident”.

The injured man was flown by helicopter to the local capital Longyearbyen and then to a hospital in Tromsø on the mainland. The hospital tells AFP that his life is not in danger and he is in a stable condition.

Landing permitted
Hapag-Lloyd said it had permission from the local authorities to dock. Usually, “as soon as an animal approaches, the landing stops immediately,” Krause said.

Around a thousand polar bears live on Svalbard, according to a 2015 census, and they have been protected in Norway since 1973. Five fatal polar bear attacks have been recorded there in the last 40 years, most recently when a group of 14 people was attacked in 2011.

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