The governor of Svalbard can inform that a man ( Johan Jacobus Kootte (38) Dutch citizen) has passed away after having been attacked by a polar bear at a campsite outside of Longyearbyen last night.
The polar bear has been shot and killed. The man was attacked on a campsite outside of Longyearbyen, but it is unknown whether or not he was in his tent when the attack took place.
“The police were informed 3:50 at night that a person at the campsite had been attacked and injured. The bear was shot at by people onsite, but continued its way towards the airport near by” informs the assistant governor Sølvi Elvedahl in a press briefing.
Dead on site
A police patrol hurried to the site and secured the area and warned Longyearbyen. The victim was declared dead by a doctor at the hospital.
Six other people who were at the campsite when the attack happened were transported to the hospital and looked after by healthcare workers. None of them have been physically injured, but they are being taken care of by a psychosocial team.
“At the moment we don’t know about any relations between the people that have been transported to the hospital and the victim” says communications advisor for the governor Terje Carlsen to NTB.
On its way to the parking lot
After having been shot the polar bear walked towards the parking lot of the Longyearbyen airport where it was found dead.
“We have had some polar bears walking around on the other side of the fjord the past few days, but don’t know about any other attacks” says Carlsen.
He says that it is generally recommended that people on Svalbard carry weapons and warning shots outside of inhabited areas.
Since 1971 five people have been killed by polar bear attacks on Svalbard. Last time was in 2011 when a 17 year old British pupil lost their life when a polar bear attacked a tent encampment of several pupils. Three others were injured before the polar bear was shot.
June of two years ago a German cruise ship worker was moderately injured by an attacking polar bear on Sjuøyane north east of Spitsbergen.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today