Increase in number of snowmobile accidents on Svalbard

More foreigners and fewer Norwegians SvalbardSvalbard airport.Photo

The number of serious injuries and deaths per 1,000 snowmobiles in Svalbard has increased from four to five per year, one study shows.

By comparison, the figure is one per 1,000 snowmobiles in Sweden and the US show figures from similar studies.

The study includes information from registered deaths and injuries with hospitalisation in Northern Norway in the years 2013 and 2014.

“The high accident numbers for snowmobiles in Svalbard indicate that injuries are a particular problem among tourists or those inexperienced with snowmobiles. There are many of both in Svalbard” said senior doctor and professor at the University of Tromsø (UiT), Torben Wisborg, to Nationen newspaper.

Together with Ellen Karine Grov and Tone Hakvåg Rønning, Wiborg has recently published the study “Deaths and injuries when using ATVs and snowmobiles in Northern Norway”.

‘’Neither the police, nor the hospital, have a complete overview of deaths using snowmobiles and ATVs. Thus, it is not easy for politicians, authorities or the population to obtain an overview of risks in connection with snowmobile and ATV driving, far less to consider possible preventive measures’’ said Wisborg, who is also the head of research at the National Competence Service for Traumatology (NKT- Trauma).

According to figures from Nordlys, 45 people have lost their lives in snowmobile accidents in Troms, Finnmark and Svalbard since 2000. The accidents vary from collisions and descents to avalanches – with the same, deadly outcomes.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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