ARKHANGELSK, Russia, Sept. 14 (UPI) — Five Russian meteorologists who were trapped by polar bears at their remote station received help chasing away the animals Tuesday night.
Russia’s state-run oil firm Rosneft chartered a ship to reach the area and frightened the bears away using its helicopter, then resupplied the weather station with more flares, supervisor Vasily Shevchenko, who is based in the city of Arkhangelsk, 1,200 miles south of the weather facility, told NBC News.
“They came around midnight,” Shevchenko said. “So there’s no direct hazard near the station.”
The scientists had been surrounded on the Izvestiy TSIK Islands in the Kara Sea north of Siberia — around 2,800 miles from Moscow — after 10 adult bears and some cubs came into the area.
They’d run out of signal flares and their guard dog had been eaten by the bears.
The scientists had a year’s supply of food but they had to take dangerous trips to a building that housed their generator, Shevchenko said.
During the summer the bears usually leave the island, but they’d become stranded by the melting ice, apparently caused by climate change, according to Shevchenko.
“They’ve stayed on the island because there’s nowhere for them to go,” he said.
“We have issued a recommendation for the station’s personnel to use extreme caution, not to leave the station without a serious need and continue only with possible meteorological observations”, Shevchenko told TASS earlier Tuesday.
Five people, including two married couples, work at the weather station.