A Czech tourist suffered minor injuries when a polar bear attacked the tent he was sleeping in on the remote Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, Norwegian authorities say.
Police spokesman Vidar Arnesen said the man was among a group of six that was on a combined ski and snow scooter trip on the remote islands more than 800 kilometres north of the Norwegian mainland. The group was camping north of the main town of Longyearbyen.
The man, Jakub Moravec, told local media he hoped to be out of the hospital later on Thursday.
“Now I am fine. I have some scratches in the face, on one arm and on the back. But I feel fine,” he told the Svalbardposten newspaper.
No one else was injured in Thursday’s attack.
Another person in the group who slept in a separate tent, Zuzana Hakova, told the newspaper her mother shot at the bear three times, prompting the animal to flee. It was eventually found and killed by authorities.
Moravec and Hakova told Svalbardposten that they had also travelled to Svalbard to see Friday’s total solar eclipse.
Lodging on Svalbard has been sold out for years for the eclipse, and visitors are reminded often that polar bears roam. Authorities say that when moving outside of settlements, people must carry firearms.
Moravec said the bear attack hadn’t scared him.
“I’d gladly go out to the mountains on Svalbard again,” he was quoted as saying.