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Daily Archives: 8. January 2016 − News & Stories


Loo­king back at 2015 – Octo­ber

Octo­ber began with this year’s last days in Spits­ber­gen spent on SV Anti­gua. This is of cour­se not­hing dra­ma­tic, qui­te the oppo­si­te, it feels good when a good time is com­ing to an end and you can rea­li­ze that is has actual­ly real­ly been a good time, without any acci­dents or other major unplea­sant events. Ins­tead, we got our final polar bear sightin­gs and the beau­ti­ful light of the arc­tic fall in a land­s­cape that is more and more get­ting into win­ter mode.

Jan May­en memo­ries came back as I show­ed the pic­tures during a pre­sen­ta­ti­on at Sval­bard­mu­se­um in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, while nort­hern lights were dan­cing on the night sky.

It was not just in natu­re that were lights were tur­ned off, but also in the Nor­we­gi­an mines in Spits­ber­gen. Not com­ple­te­ly and final­ly, but it does look dark and the working for­ce has been redu­ced drasti­cal­ly in 2015. Lon­gye­ar­by­en is shrin­king, some­thing the place is not used to at all. And Sveagru­va is shrin­king even more. The­re, they are get­ting rea­dy for years of being a slee­ping beau­ty. But nobo­dy knows if this sleep will ever real­ly end to give way to rene­wed acti­vi­ty.

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

My Spits­ber­gen calen­dar 2016 saw the light of day at this time, the fourth of its kind in a row.

Lon­gye­ar­by­en avalan­che: more houses dama­ged

Soon after the evacua­ti­on was lifted on Tues­day evening it tur­ned out that more houses are dama­ged so stron­gly that they have to be aban­do­ned. The inha­bi­tants had to lea­ve them again soon. The houses are loca­ted in Vei 228 (yel­low cir­cle in pic­tu­re below) and owned by the sta­te-owned Stats­by­gg, who was at least able to quick­ly pro­vi­de repla­ce­ment accom­mo­da­ti­on. It is at least pos­si­ble to return to the buil­dings to get per­so­nal belon­gings.

This is more luck than tho­se have who lived in the now stron­gly dama­ged houses (red cir­cle) hit by the avalan­che with full for­ce. This area remains clo­sed to all non-aut­ho­ri­zed traf­fic accord­ing to Lokals­ty­re (the local admi­nis­tra­ti­on), who will make a plan how the for­mer inha­bi­tants can get their per­so­nal belon­gings.

Queen Son­ja of Nor­way and minis­ter of jus­ti­ce Anund­sen visi­ted the avalan­che site on Thurs­day after­noon.

A fami­ly who have lost their home in Vei 236 and almost their lives have now publis­hed their dra­ma­tic expe­ri­ence of the avalan­che in Sval­bard­pos­ten. They were in their kit­chen, having bre­ak­fast with their two litt­le child­ren and a friend when the avalan­che hit. They were com­ple­te­ly buried in snow befo­re anyo­ne could react and they just mana­ged with a lot of luck and the power that comes from despe­ra­ti­on to get them­sel­ves at least part­ly out of the snow until help came. Altog­e­ther it took about three quar­ters of an hour to get ever­y­bo­dy out. They were buried under up to two meters of hard snow, mixed with sharp frag­ments of wood and other debris. They were taken to hos­pi­tal and part­ly trea­ted for hypo­ther­mia in advan­ced sta­ges. Due to an ama­zing amount of luck and a lot of help during and after the dra­ma­tic event, they are all well now.

The resi­den­ti­al area hit by the avalan­che. The houses mar­ked by the red cir­cle are lar­ge­ly des­troy­ed. As it tur­ned out now, some buil­dings in Vei 228 (yel­low cir­cle) also have to be aban­do­ned.

Longyearbyen avalanche

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