Update: 5 Dead in Norway Avalanche

Posted By: The Ski Channel on March 19, 2012 5:12 pm

Original Story       Update

Additional details have been released concerning the terrible avalanche that struck a group of international tourists visiting Mt Sorbmegaisa in Norway.

Norwegian authorities state that five of the six individuals overtaken by the avalanche have died. Police said that the sixth member of the group was able to be dug out by rescue personell. He is alive and currently undergoing treatment at a nearby hospital.

Jan Fredrik Frantzen, a hospital spokesman told the AFP that, “It’s a man. His injuries are moderate and his condition is stable.”

The avalanche was set off early Monday afternoon. It began on the Sorbmegaisa mountain in the Kaafjord municipality at an altitude of about 1,000 meters. Just prior to the avalanche, the 12 person expedition had split into two six-person groups each made up of five Swiss nationals and one French guide. 

Once the avalanche hit the expedition it was immediately realized that 6 were unaccounted for. The surviving group members and resort officials knew it was a race against the clock to find these missing party members, and employed every resource available to aid in their speedy recovery. Both local police and military forces comprised a team of around 30 rescue workers who were assisted by dogs and several helicopters.

With aerial support flying overhead, the teams worked quickly to seek out the trapped tourists. Police detailed that all 12 group members had been wearing radio transmitters. This streamlined the search.

Antoine Gosset, the first secretary at the French embassy in Oslo, told AFP, ”The guide in the group that was not hit by the avalanche made sure the others in his group were in safety and then went back to the site of the avalanche to take part in the search.”

The surviving avalanche victim was found rather quickly, as were the first two deceased. It took several hours to fully account for the remaining three. The fifth body was found under several meters of snow.

“I can now confirm that five people have been found dead,” Astrid Nilsen of the police in the northern town of Tromsoe told AFP. She went on to add, ”The search is over and we are now going to work on identifying the victims.”