The man who survived the avalanche on Jan Mayen, is said to have spent two hours fighting off the snow masses.
It appears in the Armed Forces’ operations journal about the dramatic incident.
– The landslide on Jan Mayen went around 13.45 on Saturday afternoon. Three civilian employees in the Armed Forces were taken by the avalanche. One of them managed to break free after being buried in the avalanche for two hours. He was then notified of the incident, says communications manager in the Cyber Defense, Knut Grandhagen, to VG.
Rescue crews immediately moved out of the Armed Forces’ base on Jan Mayen to the scene in Borgdalen on the west side of the island.
At 5.30 pm, the two missing were found in the avalanche, which is estimated to be about 100 meters wide.
The missing were confirmed dead at 19 on Saturday.
The dead are a woman in her 50s and a man in his 30s, who come from Vestland and Nordland counties, respectively. Relatives have been notified.
Both were part of the winter crew on Jan Mayen, which consists of only 18 people. The winter crew has been on the island in the Norwegian Sea, which is located about 1000 kilometers west of Norway, since the end of September, according to Grandhagen.
The Armed Forces does not know the details of the course of events, other than that the three who were taken by the avalanche were out on a private trip. According to police, they trained for an expedition.
Clears the airstrip
On Sunday, an interrogation of the man who survived the avalanche will be carried out, the police say. The survivor should be slightly injured after the incident.
The personnel on Jan Mayen are very affected by the deaths. VG has been in contact with the station commander, but he refers to the Armed Forces’ communications apparatus.
– The station manager’s main task now is to take care of his people. Furthermore, he has a practical chore; and that is that the airstrip must be cleared so that it can accommodate a Hercules aircraft. The Armed Forces will send support personnel to the base as soon as possible, says Grandhagen.
Health personnel and trauma teams have digital contact with the personnel at the base until the support personnel arrive. The Hercules plane will probably not have the opportunity to land on Jan Mayen until Monday.
Grandhagen states that there has been strong weather on the Arctic island recently. It therefore takes some time to clear the airstrip.
Prime Minister: – Deep grief
On Sunday morning, Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) sends her condolences to those affected.
Earlier, the Minister of Defense commented on the tragic accident:
– Now my thoughts and sympathy go first and foremost to the relatives, the close, small community on Jan Mayen – but also to friends and colleagues in the Armed Forces. It hurts when we are hit by such tragedies, says Minister of Defense Frank Bakke-Jensen in a statement.
Chief of Defense Eirik Kristoffersen has also stated:
– Our people do an important job there every day, on Norwegian territory, but still far from home. My thoughts go to the relatives and friends of the deceased and to their closest colleagues. All of us in the Armed Forces think of you and feel with you in this sad time, he says.