Dutchman killed by polar bear on Spitsbergen

In the Norwegian Arctic, a Dutch man was attacked and killed by a polar bear. According to the Norwegian authorities it was a 38 year old man who was staying at a campsite near the town of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen.

The man was attacked by the bear early in the morning in his tent. He was taken to a hospital, but a doctor there could only confirm that he had died. The bear was shot by other people present.

The campsite is owned by a Dutch owner, Michelle van Dijk. She tells the CCeit that the man who died was the campsite manager. “It was his second season as manager. He was an experienced boy, had followed the right training and knew how everything was done there.”

There were seven people on the premises, says the police:

Van Dijk tells that a warning was given yesterday that a polar bear was walking around near the capital. “I asked him if he was aware of this and he was. He said the situation was under control.”

Since 1976, when the campsite opened, there has never been a polar bear around without being seen in time, she says. “It was never a problem. But in recent years more and more polar bears have come closer to the capital. Since a couple of years we have guard dogs and the next step would be a fence. The stuff for that is already there, but because of corona the construction couldn’t go on.”

Threatened

Spitsbergen is the main island of the group of islands of the same name, halfway between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole. There are 3,000 people living among 1,000 polar bears.