Iceland’s Coast Guard sent a helicopter out on an unusual call yesterday afternoon when hikers in the Westfjords’ Hornstrandir Nature Reserve reported sighting a polar bear. While the white giants are not native to Iceland, they have been known to drift to the north coast on sea ice on rare occasions. Two Westfjords Police officers rode out with the helicopter, which was accompanied on the mission by search and rescue ship Gísli Jón.
The helicopter crew flew over Hornvík bay (where the sighting had been made) and the surrounding area, as well as spoke to the hikers, who were convinced that they had seen a polar bear.
A notice from Westfjords Police states: “No bear was found. The animal that the people believed was a polar bear seems to have been a large, white-coloured grey seal that had been spotted recently in Hornvík.”
Westfjords Police thanked the Coast Guard and ICE-SAR for their collaboration on the call out, adding: “Better safe than sorry.”