Fears hikers are buried in a large avalanche
A major avalanche has been observed in the area of Blåbærfjellet in Troms where four persons are missing. The police fear they are buried in it.
“It is 300 metres wide and estimated at 500–600 metres in length. We do not know for sure, but we fear that the four are buried in the avalanche. They should have returned a long time ago,” Effort Leader in the police, John-Kåre Granheim, tells NRK.
The rescue crews will have an assessment meeting at 9 pm to determine how they will continue the search operation.
“The avalanche is at the peak of the mountain and therefore high up. If we send in crews or not, depends on how easy the helicopter can access the spot. Avalanche danger and weather conditions hinder us,” Operations Manager in the Troms Police District, Morten Augensen, tells NTB.
“We fear that the missing persons have been buried by the avalanche, but we hope that that is not the case,” he adds.
Due to the avalanche danger, ground crews are not deployed in the search at Blåbærfjellet in Tamokdalen.
“The Red Cross, Norwegian People’s Aid and Norwegian Rescue Dogs are present in the area,” Troms Police District informs.
The area is located in Inner Troms, where there was considerable avalanche risk on Wednesday, according to the hazard warning from Varsom.no.
3 Finns and a Swede
The missing persons are a Swedish woman and three Finnish men, the police tell the Swedish news agency TT. They had been on a top tour in the area.
“We have at present between 30 and 50 personnel working flat out in the area. There will be crews on duty on a continuous basis,” Augensen informs NTB at 7.45 pm on Wednesday.
The search is concentrated around the areas where there have been several avalanches. A Sea King helicopter continues with further searches in the area throughout the evening, the police state. An ambulance helicopter from the University Hospital of Northern Norway also assists, and transports rescue crews to the area.
“The conditions are dangerous in the mountain. There is a large danger of avalanches and a shitload of snow,“ Augesen explains.
There are reportedly no cabins in the mountain area that the missing hikers may have sought shelter in.
The four were last observed around 2 pm. After a few hours, the fifth person in the hiking group became worried – and notified the police.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today