Solar eclipse tourist attacked by polar bear while camping for the best view of phenomenon

The man survived the attack with scratches and the polar bear was shot

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The Independent Online

A tourist camping on Svalbard to watch tomorrow’s solar eclipse has been mauled by a polar bear as he slept in his tent.

Jakub Moravec, from the Czech Republic, survived Thursday’s attack with scratches and minor injuries and told of his ordeal from hospital.

“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.

“I'd gladly go out to the mountains on Svalbard again.”

Svalbard-3.jpg
A tourist group's campside in Svalbard where a polar bear attacked a man on 19 March 2015

Mr Moravec was among a group of six people on a ski and snow scooter trip on the remote islands more than 500 miles north of the Norwegian mainland.

One of his fellow travellers Zuzana Hakova, was sleeping in a separate tent when the polar bear attacked. She said her mother shot three times at the animal, causing it to flee. It was later found and killed by authorities.

No one else was injured in the attack, which happened north of the main town of Longyearbyen.

Svalbard lies in the Arctic Ocean, promising spectacular views of the total eclipse on Friday morning.

Hotels and other lodgings have been sold out for years ahead of the rare astronomical event and visitors resorting to camping in the freezing cold have been warned of the dangers posed by roaming polar bears.

Authorities say that when moving outside of settlements, people must carry guns to protect themselves. svalbard-1.jpg

Thursday’s attack was the latest in a series of polar bear attacks on humans, thought to be caused by hungry animals searching for food or ones feeling threatened by people in their territory.

In August 2011, an emaciated polar bear attacked a party of schoolchildren camping on Svalbard with the British Schools Exploring Society, killing 17-year-old Horatio Chapple, a pupil of Eton College.

Additional reporting by agencies

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