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Home* News and Stories → Zodiac acci­dent in Fjor­ten­de Juli­buk­ta: no juri­di­cal con­se­quen­ces

Zodiac acci­dent in Fjor­ten­de Juli­buk­ta: no juri­di­cal con­se­quen­ces

When a zodiac flip­ped in Fjor­ten­de Juli­buk­ta (Kross­fjord) on June 17 this year, all 13 per­sons on board fell into the water. They rea­ched the shore soon, but one Ame­ri­can woman in her six­ties lost con­scious­ness and died, befo­re the res­cue heli­c­op­ter arri­ved on the sce­ne (see Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com-news from June 2013). The zodiac was one out of nine that belon­ged to the Sea Spi­rit, which is ope­ra­ted by the US-Ame­ri­can com­pa­ny Quark Expe­di­ti­ons.

A video that was published on you­tube includes foo­ta­ge taken short­ly after the acci­dent. The wea­ther was appear­ent­ly calm. This sup­ports the assump­ti­on that the wave that tur­ned the zodiac over ori­gi­na­ted from a cal­ving from the gla­cier in the bay. The cla­im that the wave that cau­sed the acci­dent was unfo­re­seen and unex­pec­ted seems doubtful when seen in this light. The dan­ger of such waves, which often break vio­lent­ly on the shore and in shal­low waters with some delay after the actu­al cal­ving, is gene­ral­ly well known. Wit­hout fur­ther detail­ed know­ledge of the inci­dent, it would, howe­ver, be pure spe­cu­la­ti­on to infer a lack of expe­ri­ence or any respon­si­bi­li­ty on behalf of the zodiac dri­ver.

The acci­dent was inves­ti­ga­ted by the Nor­we­gi­an pro­se­cu­tor in Trom­sø with regards to juri­di­cal rele­vant beha­viour on behalf of ship ope­ra­tor, cap­tain, tour ope­ra­tor and dri­ver. The Sys­sel­man­nen has now clo­sed the case, as rele­vant beha­viour was not iden­ti­fied. It is unknown if the fami­ly of the woman intends to take fur­ther steps.

The Sea Spi­rit in Horn­sund, a few weeks after the acci­dent in Fjor­ten­de Juli­buk­ta.

Sea Spirit, Hornsund

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten (49/2013)



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last modification: 2014-07-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange