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Home* News and Stories → Group bro­ke through ice in Tem­pel­fjord

Group bro­ke through ice in Tem­pel­fjord

Update from Fri­day: one per­son, the gui­de, is still cri­ti­cal­ly unsta­ble and under advan­ced inten­si­ve care in Trom­sø. It was said today that it was four per­sons who actual­ly ended up in the water. Some of the group have alre­a­dy retur­ned to Rus­sia via Nor­way.

Updates from Satur­day are in the text, high­ligh­ted with bold for­mat­ting.

In the late after­noon today (April 27), a group of snow mobi­le tou­rists bro­ke through the ice in Tem­pel­fjord. The alarm went clo­se to 18:00. To start with the most important bit of infor­ma­ti­on: all per­sons seem to be in safe­ty by now, the­re are reports about three per­sons being serious­ly inju­red. The sta­tus of two is descri­bed as cri­ti­cal.

It was a group of nine per­sons inclu­ding one gui­de, all of Rus­si­an natio­na­li­ty, that bro­ke through the ice in Tem­pel­fjord bet­ween Kapp Mur­doch and Kapp Schoultz. Short­ly after the emer­gen­cy call, Nor­we­gi­an SAR forces were on loca­ti­on with heli­c­op­ters and a coast guard ship and star­ted to res­cue per­sons out of the water. Seve­ral per­sons are now in the hos­pi­tal in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, pla­nes star­ted from Trom­sø with addi­tio­nal medi­cal per­son­nel and equip­ment and to pos­si­bly evacua­te pati­ents to the main­land. Update: one is still in cri­ti­cal con­di­ti­on. It is one of the gui­des, who was in the cold water for almost an hour. He got a car­diac arrest while he was lifted out of the water.

Three per­sons were repor­ted miss­ing, but it seems that they were quick­ly res­cued by ano­ther group, taken to Fred­heim, a hut on the sou­thern side of Tem­pel­fjord, and taken care of the­re.

The group included about 24 per­sons in total, with seve­ral gui­des, but 11 did not get invol­ved in the actu­al acci­dent. The group was on the way from Pyra­mi­den to Lon­gye­ar­by­en, as part of a seve­ral day long trip orga­ni­zed by Arc­tic Tra­vel Com­pa­ny Gru­mant, a Rus­si­an tour ope­ra­tor in Barents­burg. The part of the group not direct­ly invol­ved retur­ned to Pyra­mi­den.

Details about the acci­dent are not yet available. The ice in Tem­pel­fjord has beco­me incre­asing­ly unre­lia­ble in recent years, to the degree that it was more or less absent in some years. In the last cou­ple of weeks, howe­ver, it was tra­ver­sed fre­quent­ly. Update: the ice was recent­ly crossed by pri­va­te per­sons, but major tour ope­ra­tors from Lon­gye­ar­by­en did not cross the ice in Tem­pel­fjord during their tours, or only near the shore. The thic­k­ness of the ice in cen­tral parts was less than requi­red by com­mon safe­ty rou­ti­nes.

Near Kapp Mur­doch, the­re is a per­ma­nent local zone of weak­ne­ss in the ice. This weak spot, which is local­ly well known and cal­led Mur­doch-råka, had led to acci­dents befo­re. It is not yet known if this was the site of today’s acci­dent or if it hap­pen­ed some­whe­re else. Update: the acci­dent did not hap­pen at the Mur­doch-råka, but some­whe­re on a more or less straight line from Kapp Mur­doch to Fred­heim, clo­ser to the sou­thern side of the fjord, so the Mur­doch-hole was defi­ni­te­ly not invol­ved.

Tem­pel­fjord with poor ice con­di­ti­ons in April 2014.


Source: Sys­sel­man­nen, Sval­bard­pos­ten, NRK



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last modification: 2017-04-29 · copyright: Rolf Stange