A man was killed in his tent after a polar bear came scavenging near the town of Longyearbyen, report local officials.
The man was identified as the camp's manager, 38-year-old Johan Jacobus Kootte, from Holland.
Shortly before dawn on Friday the polar bear broke into the man's tent, while he was asleep. The polar bear was shot and fended off by other campers, but they could not save the manager. Kootte was pronounced dead on arrival at the nearby hospital.
The bear which was shot in the attack was later found dead near the local airstrip.
Local newspaper the Svalbard Posten said that there were six other campers on site at the time, three Germans a Norwegian, a Finn and an Italian. The Camp's owner Michelle van Dijk told Dutch broadcaster NOS that Kootte had been in his second season as manager and was aware of the danger posed by bears.
"He had done the right training and knew how everything worked there," she said, but this had not prevented the freak attack.
Van Dijk had known Kootte for fifteen years, and broke the news to his family.
"I told his mother that I do not know what it is like to lose a child, but I know what it is like to lose a friend," she said.
The installation of an electric fence to fend off bears had been postponed by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Posten. This defence was finally erected in July, but it is not clear how the bear broke into the site on Friday.
Hungry bears have become increasingly common in the area, as the polar hunting grounds continue to shrink due around melting ice sheets.
The campsite had been warned that there were signs of polar bears in the area on Thursday. The Norwegian Polar Institute said that the bear involved in the attack had earlier broken into cabins on the outskirts of Longyearbyen.
The last time there was a lethal polar bear attack on Svalbard was 2011, when a British school boy was attacked and killed in his tent in the nearby Von Post Glacier.
The Islands of Svalbard are home to 1000 bears and 3000 humans. However seasonal tourist numbers have been increasing, which experts warn may only result in more bear encounters.