Dutch Man Gets Mauled to Death by Polar Bear During a Night of Camping

Johan Jacobus Koote is the first person to be killed by a polar bear on the island since 2011.

Johan Jacobus Koote worked as a seasonal worker on the Norweigan island.

A man on a camping trip was killed after being ripped from his tent and mauled by a polar bear, according to reports. Johan Jacobus Koote was lying in his tent when a polar bear dragged him from his tent and savagely attacked him.

The vicious assault happened at 4 a.m. near the town of Longyearbyen on the Norweigan island of Svalbard in the Arctic, approximately 800 miles from the North Pole. According to the Svalbardposten newspaper, six other campers were sleeping at the site at the time of the attack, but were unharmed. 

The 38-year-old, who worked as a seasonal worker on the campsite for the last two seasons, suffered life-threatening injuries and later died from his injuries, according to the local governor’s office. 

The polar bear was found dead in a nearby parking lot shot by locals, local officials said.

After the harrowing attack, images surfaced of Kootee’s crumpled tent that was torn open by the bear and photos of blood sprayed close to the campsite, according to local media reports.

The group of people that were with Koote thanked the people of Longyearbyen and the governor for their efforts and said in a statement that their thoughts are with the victim’s family. “We now need peace and that we are allowed to mourn our friend who is dead.”

According to a tally from 2015, reported in the Daily Mail, the archipelago is home to about 1,000 polar bears, a protected species since 1973.

Warning signs about polar bears are posted around the island and campers are told to carry firearms, particularly those who camp outdoors. 

Koote is the first person to be killed by a polar bear on the island since 2011 and the fifth person on Svalbard to have been killed by a polar bear since 1971, according to Norweigan broadcaster NRK.

Regarding the latest attack, Deputy Governor Soelvi Evledah said in a statement. “This is also a strong reminder that we are in polar bear country and must take the precautions to secure ourselves.”