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He had been assigned to protect tourists arriving Svalbard's northernmost island from the MS Bremen, operated by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

"He is out of danger, with no threat to life", the post reads.

Earlier this month, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police confirmed that a 31-year-old man called Aaron Gibbons had been killed in a tragic polar bear attack while protecting his children in the Canadian territory of Nunavut.

On Saturday morning, however, the injured guard did not see the polar bear, he said.

Tourist expeditions are required to employ bear guards for the safety of the passengers.

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The injured person was immediately provided with medical care and flown to a hospital with a rescue helicopter. Live web-cam from the ship at 80'North of Svalbard is online, but no information about the injured person or the shooting of the polar bear was published by Saturday evening.

The long-running cruise company said they had travelled to the destination for many years and were "very aware of its responsibility when travelling in environmentally-sensitive areas and respects all nature and wildlife".

The polar bear was shot dead by another employee, the cruise company said.

The death of the bear at the hands of another cruise ship employee drew condemnation on social media, with some calling it "abhorrent" and others questioning killing the polar bear for "acting like a wild animal".

In its Facebook statement, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises notes that landings on Spitsbergen are only possible in a few places and these are not done for polar bear observation. "We are extremely sorry that this incident has happened". "On the contrary", the statement explains, "polar bears are only observed from aboard ships, from a safe distance". "The polar bear distribution is strongly related to the distribution of sea ice", it added. "One of the guards was unexpectedly attacked by a polar bear that had not been spotted and he was unable to react himself". "Horribly, horribly wrong", one Twitter user wrote.