Polar bear killed after attacking cruise ship employee near North Pole

The polar bear was shot dead 'in an act of self-defense' by a second guard

All cruise ships sailing in the region were obliged to have polar bear guards aboard, Etminan said.

A cruise line is experiencing intense scrutiny and backlash after their visit to the Arctic Circle resulted in the tragic death of a polar bear.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises said all ships in the area are required to employ guards to protect passengers from polar bears on tours.

The polar bear was then shot dead "in an act of self-defense" by the second guard, a spokeswoman said.

The guard suffered non-life-threatening head injuries and is said to be in a stable condition.

"Polar bears are only observed from aboard ships, from a safe distance", the company says.

Another posted: "So - at a time when polar bears are hungry, when there is no sea ice, you put yourself in the middle of its dinner plate and are surprised by its reaction and shoot the bear?"

The company, which operates the MS Bremen, added that they regret the incident and are aware of "its responsibility when travelling in environmentally-sensitive areas and respects all nature and wildlife". Some are saying it was a needless death of a vulnerable animal and that tourists shouldn't have been there in the first place. The region is known for its remote terrain, glaciers, reindeer and polar bears. "As soon as such an animal approaches, the shore leave would be stopped immediately". "One of the guards was unexpectedly attacked by a polar bear that had not been spotted and he was unable to react himself".

The injured man was taken by helicopter to hospital. The other guards shot the bear after trying unsuccessfully to evict the animal, the company said. "We are extremely sorry that this incident has happened".

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has worked comprehensively and co-operatively with the Norwegian authorities to reconstruct and clarify the incident on the ground and will continue to do so. In 2015, Czech Jakub Moravec was pulled out of the tent by a polar bear, but escaped with slight damage.

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