Longyearbyen avalanche evacuations continue / News / The Foreigner

The Foreigner Longyearbyen avalanche evacuations continue. The Governor of Svalbard tells more people to leave their home as a renewed avalanche danger prevails. Officials went from house to house during the night, knocking on doors to wake residents living between Sukkertoppen and Hilmar Rekstens vei. “We’re choosing to evacuate inhabitants until we familiarise ourselves with the situation [there] as long as we don’t feel confident about a new avalanche occurring,” Kjetil Brattlien, snow slide expert at the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) told NRK.

avalanche, longyearbyen, svalbard



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Longyearbyen avalanche evacuations continue

Published on Sunday, 20th December, 2015 at 10:31 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Sarah Bostock   .
Last Updated on 6th January 2016 at 22:00.

The Governor of Svalbard tells more people to leave their home as a renewed avalanche danger prevails.



Officials went from house to house during the night, knocking on doors to wake residents living between Sukkertoppen and Hilmar Rekstens vei.

“We’re choosing to evacuate inhabitants until we familiarise ourselves with the situation [there] as long as we don’t feel confident about a new avalanche occurring,” Kjetil Brattlien, snow slide expert at the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) told NRK.

This operation came in addition to the previously-ordered evacuation of Nybyen, a small settlement located on the outskirts of Longyearbyen, the old school, and several other houses.

Yesterday’s avalanche on Mount Sukkertoppen occurred at about 11:00 a.m. local time.

It overlooks the city of Longyearbyen in the Svalbard Archipelago between Norway and the North Pole.  

About 120 people from some 40 homes had already been evacuated as of Saturday evening, on a day which saw ten houses swept away and destroyed.

The approximate number of persons affected, which includes the night's 59, currently stands at 180, the Svalbard Governor states. 

Frode Bjørshol at the Governor’s Office informed VG that he saw one wooden house “half buried, smashed to pieces and shoved into another one.”

“Several wrecked cars are lying underneath the houses,” he added.

One person in his 40s was killed by the avalanche. Medical staff at the University Hospital of North Norway’s (UNN) Longyearbyen facility pronounced the man dead following failed resuscitation efforts.

Two children were seriously injured, with one child’s situation was critical as of 6:45 pm local time. Seven other people – two children and five adults – sustained slight injuries.

Nobody is believed to be missing, but avalanche rescue dogs will be searching the area in which the snow slide occurred, according to the governor.

Regional publication Svalbardposten reported the story of one affected survivor.

44-year old Anne Kristin Jakobsen was in her dressing gown when the snow swept through her house.

Rescue workers located her after she managed to attract their attention by banging on a microwave oven. She was subsequently hospitalised.

Local resident Kine Bakkeli managed to escape through a window before the snow hit her house and swept it away.

“It’s complete chaos here,” she told NRK.

Governor of Svalbard spokesperson Tone Hertzberg has said “it would be logical” to assume that the cause of the avalanche is in connection to the storm that hit the archipelago on Friday night.

It was the worst storm in 30 years, with winds up to 60mph. The storm ripped off a school roof, which landed on a football field.

The storm also caused the closure of Longyearbyen Airport.




Published on Sunday, 20th December, 2015 at 10:31 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Sarah Bostock   .
Last updated on 6th January 2016 at 22:00.

This post has the following tags: avalanche, longyearbyen, svalbard.





  
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