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Home* News and Stories → Emer­gen­cy ser­vices affec­ted by wea­ther

Emer­gen­cy ser­vices affec­ted by wea­ther

Last week’s storm over north Nor­way influen­ced not only traf­fic in gene­ral, but also public emer­gen­cy ser­vices. Seve­ral times, pla­nes from and to Lon­gye­ar­by­en had to can­cel the sche­du­led sto­po­ver in Trom­sø.

Longyearbyen Airport: flight schedule hit by weather

Lon­gye­ar­by­en Air­port: both sche­du­led and other flights depend on flight wea­ther also in north Nor­way.

This is any­thing but unhe­ard of in an area with fre­quent rough wea­ther con­di­ti­ons such as north Nor­way, but it makes clear how remo­te Sval­bard still is today espe­ci­al­ly when it comes to emer­gen­cy ser­vices. In such con­di­ti­ons, medi­cal evacua­tions to the main­land may be impos­si­ble for seve­ral days. This may espe­ci­al­ly be the case when only smal­ler pro­pel­ler-dri­ven aero­pla­nes are available, rather than more robust jet air­craft.

The local hos­pi­tal in Lon­gye­ar­by­en is small and ser­vices available the­re are com­pa­ra­tively basic. In urgent cases, pati­ents are flown to the uni­ver­si­ty hos­pi­tal in Trom­sø. The­re was a case as recent­ly as ear­ly Janu­ary when a pati­ent could not be flown out when nee­ded, he had to be taken care of local­ly until flight con­di­ti­ons were bet­ter the next day. In a case in 2022, a pati­ent with heart pro­blems had to wait 8 hours for the emer­gen­cy pla­ne. In this case, the out­co­me was sad­ly fatal.

This situa­ti­on also worries local aut­ho­ri­ties: the Sys­sel­mes­ter reques­ted alre­a­dy more than once a relia­ble 24/7 available emer­gen­cy ser­vice from respon­si­ble main­land aut­ho­ri­ties, accor­ding to Sval­bard­pos­ten.

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last modification: 2024-02-04 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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