Solar eclipse tourist mauled by polar bear tells ITV News of terrifying ordeal

A tourist mauled by a polar bear has told ITV News of his terrifying ordeal.

Jakub Moravec - who had travelled to the Svalbard Islands in Norway's Arctic region to watch tomorrow's total solar eclipse - was attacked as he camped with six others in the early hours of Thursday.

The 37-year-old Czech national managed to fend off the polar bear, escaping with injuries to his face and arms.

The polar bear was put down after the incident, according to the local governor's office said.

"It was a very big surprise - I'm very lucky," Mr Moravec told ITV News from his hospital bed.

The attack comes on the eve of a total solar eclipse that is only going to be fully visible from Svalbard and the Faroe Islands.

Scratches from the polar bear on Mr Moravec's back. Credit: ITV News/Dan Hewitt
He escaped with injuries to his face and arms. Credit: ITV News/Dan Hewitt
The 37-year-old admitted he was very lucky to escape from the ordeal. Credit: ITV News/Dan Hewitt

Between 1,500 and 2,000 tourists are expected to travel to Svalbard in a bid to witness the rare phenomenon.

It is the first reported polar bear attack in the region since 2011, and local authorities have warned tourists to be aware of the dangers posed by the animal.