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Polar bear shot dead in 'self-defence' after wounding cruise ship worker

The man suffered head injuries before a co-worker shot the bear.

The bear in question
The bear in question
Image: Gustav Busch Arntsen/AP/Press Association Images

A POLAR BEAR was shot dead after attacking a German cruise ship worker on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, authorities have confirmed.

The unnamed man in his 40s suffered head injuries shortly after landing on Spitsbergen island.

He was accompanying a tourist expedition from the MS Bremen of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises yesterday.

“The bear was killed by another employee on the boat,” police commissioner Ole Jakob Malmo told AFP. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises said it was “self-defence”.

“We greatly regret this incident,” company spokesman Moritz Krause said.

The injured employee was flown by helicopter to the local capital Longyearbyen and then on to Tromsø on the mainland, Malmo said.

Tromsø hospital told AFP the man’s life was not in danger and he was in a stable condition.

Protected since 1973 

Polar bears have been protected in Norway since 1973 and nearly 1,000 were counted on Svalbard during a 2015 census.

The archipelago, roughly twice the size of Belgium, lies about 1,000km from the North Pole.

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Five fatal polar bear attacks have been recorded on Svalbard in the last 40 years.

The most recent was in 2011 when a bear attacked a group of 14 people on a trip organised by a British schools association.

A 17-year-old Briton died and four other members of the expedition were hurt before the bear was killed.

© AFP 2018 

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