Polar bear incident on Phipps Island still under investigation
The Governor of Svalbard is still investigating the polar bear incident on the Sjuøyane Islands in the morning of Saturday 28 July. The islands are located in the northern part of the Svalbard archipelago. – We have ascertained some of the facts and are piecing together what happened, says Ole Jakob Malmo, police superintendent at the Governor’s office.
12 crew members from the cruise ship “Bremen” went ashore on Phipps Island in two dinghies around 8.30 a.m. in order to prepare for the passengers to follow. It was in this context that one of the group was attacked by a polar bear.
- The attack happened on shore. The victim, a 42-year old man from Germany, was wounded in the head. Two of the others in the group opened fire on the bear and killed it, Malmo said.
- Initially, the group attempted to scare away the bear by shouting and making loud noises as well as firing a signal pistol, but to no effect, he added.
The victim was taken to hospital in Longyearbyen by helicopter and later in the day transferred by plane to the University Hospital of North Norway in Tromsø.
The polar bear has been transported to Longyearbyen where it will be routinely examined.
- This is the information we have at present. We expect that it will take some time to complete the investigation, Malmo concluded.