A French woman has survived an attack by a polar bear on a remote island in the Norwegian archipelago.
The tourist, who was not identified, was part of a group of 25 people camping at Sveasletta, in the central part of Svalbard, in the early hours of this morning.
Chief superintendent Stein Olav Bredli said the victim was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Longyearbyen.
Her injuries were not life-threatening but the authorities did not release any further details.
‘The French woman suffered injuries to an arm,’ Mr Bredli added. ‘Shots were fired at the polar bear, which was scared away from the area.’
Mr Bredli initially said the polar bear was injured and that ‘our people on site are considering what to do with it’.
But it was later revealed the polar bear had been killed.
One of the worlds northernmost inhabited areas, Svalbard is known for its rugged, remote terrain of glaciers and frozen tundra polar bears call home.
The campsite was located across a fjord from Longyearbyen, the main settlement in the archipelago, and more than 500 miles north of the Norwegian mainland.
According to the Norwegian Polar Institute, there are at least 3,500 polar bears in the area, which is dotted with warnings about the bears.
Visitors who choose to sleep outdoors are also urged by the authorities to carry firearms.
At least five people have been killed by polar bears since the 1970s, most recently in 2020 when a 38-year-old Dutch man was killed.
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