Man attacked by Svalbard polar bear

The 37-year-old is undergoing treatment for light injuries

Photo: Arturo de Frias Marques / Wikimedia Commons A polar bear jumps on fast-moving ice.

Photo: Arturo de Frias Marques / Wikimedia Commons
A polar bear jumps on fast-moving ice.

Sarah Bostock & Michael Sandelson
The Foreigner

Jakub Moravec from the Czech Republic told ITV News that he was “very lucky” to survive. He escaped with non-life-threatening injuries to his arms, chest, and face.

Moravec had been camping with six other tourists on Svalbard prior to the full solar eclipse, which they wished to see, when the polar bear attacked him at around 6:00 a.m. The group were on a ski and snow scooter trip to the region more than 500 miles north of the Norwegian mainland when the incident happened.
The female polar bear attacked as the party was sleeping at Fredheim in Tempel­fjorden on the island of Spitsbergen. The two-year-old, some 154-kilo marked animal (about 340 pounds) was the sister of a young bear found dead a year ago in Billefjorden in Svalbard.

“Both examination of the bear and the police investigation into the incident are still at an early stage, however,” a press spokesperson for the Governor of Svalbard commented to The Foreigner.

From his hospital bed, Moravec told NRK television that he awoke to find the bear in the tent standing over him. He tried to fight it off before another person in the group drove the bear away by shooting and injuring it.

The victim, who was conscious, was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Longyearbyen, the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago. “Both the extent and type of injuries he sustained remain unchanged,” said University Hospital of North Norway press spokesperson, Jan Fredrik Frantzen, to The Foreigner, Friday, March 20.

A woman suffering from frost injuries she had sustained earlier was also transported there. Next of kin were informed.

It is believed that the polar bear managed to break through a fence set up around the campsite before ripping into the tent.

Zuzana Hakova, a member of the group, told regional publication Svalbardposten that her mother shot at the bear three times, causing the animal to flee.

According to the Governor of Svalbard’s office, the polar bear was subsequently killed.

No one else was injured during the attack.

This article was originally published on The Foreigner. To subscribe to The Foreigner, visit theforeigner.no.

It also appeared in the March 27, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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