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Home* News and Stories → Ita­li­an lost and found

Ita­li­an lost and found

After the search after a sai­ling boat last week, SAR (search and res­cue) forces from Sys­sel­man­nen and Red Cross were, only a few days later, again out on a major mis­si­on. On Satur­day after­noon at 16.20 hours, the local hos­pi­tal in Lon­gye­ar­by­en recei­ved a call from an Ita­li­an per­son who was stuck on a steep slo­pe and not able to move. The man said that he could see the air­port, wit­hout giving fur­ther details about his posi­ti­on. Next to lack of local know­ledge, lan­guage dif­fi­cul­ties may have come in here. He finis­hed the con­ver­sa­ti­on wit­hout lea­ving his name or cont­act details, so it was not pos­si­ble to cont­act him again later.

Hence, SAR forces had to move out in dark­ness and strong winds. The Red Cross sear­ched Pla­tå­ber­get, which is situa­ted near the air­port, with about 30 peo­p­le. Final­ly, a light signal was seen on a steep slo­pe abo­ve the sea on Fuglef­jel­la, bet­ween Bjørn­da­len and Lit­le Bjørn­da­len. Strong winds pre­ven­ted SAR forces from rea­ching the area by heli­c­op­ter, so the Red Cross had to walk a lon­ger distance to get to the site. Short­ly after 5 a.m. the man was final­ly res­cued; he had spent at least about 13 hours in his posi­ti­on. All invol­ved got back to Lon­gye­ar­by­en the­re­af­ter in good con­di­ti­on.

The inci­dent shows how important it is to have at least basic local know­ledge and means of ori­en­ta­ti­on as well as the abili­ty to make a pro­per emer­gen­cy call if worst comes to worst. Next to some know­ledge of a lan­guage used local­ly, or at least a cont­act who can pro­vi­de that, this invol­ves the cor­rect local emer­gen­cy cont­acts (the Sys­sel­man­nen), name and pho­ne num­ber. The man was in very steep ter­rain, in dark­ness, strong wind and wit­hout local know­ledge and ori­en­ta­ti­on. The inci­dent pro­vi­des a nega­ti­ve exam­p­le in seve­ral ways.

The steep slo­pe of Fuglef­jel­la bet­ween Bjørn­da­len and Lit­le Gru­mant­da­len on a nice sum­mer day, whe­re an Ita­li­an tou­rist was res­cued ear­ly Sun­day mor­ning in dark­ness and wind.

Italian Fuglefjella

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten



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last modification: 2017-09-24 · copyright: Rolf Stange