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Thread: A terrible day

  1. #1
    Ent FishyFolk's Avatar
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    A terrible day

    Terrible day in my childhoods village, Longyearbyen in the Svalbard archipelago at 78*N. 10 houses wrecked by an avalanche. Most of them ripped off their foundations and carried 20-30 yards, and crushed towards each other or other houses.

    1 male in his fourties perished, 2 children in serious life threathening condition in hospital, and 8 other people with minor to semi serious injuries. The avalanche came after a hurricane struck the village, and snow banks had built up in the hillside above the houses. Luck was that it happened around 11am and that the storm had subsided, so most people where out and about, and not sleeping in their beds or shelterering inside from the storm.

    3 Medical teams from the mainland, 1000 km away as well as SAR crews with search dogs are arriving there now to help the locals cope. The hospital there only has a
    GP and a few nurses.

    A stern reminder that nature is boss for these people who are 1000km from other people.

    Been sitting here with a lump in my stomach and tears in my eyes all day...I grew up right next to the houses that was destroyed...

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/a06d2...rd-archipelago


    What the houses used to look like



    Here you see the xtent of the avalanche...each house what hit by tens of tons of packed snow



    The damage






    An overview of the valley side, and wher the house I grew up in.

    Last edited by FishyFolk; 20-12-2015 at 02:07 PM.
    Victory awaits the one, that has everything in order - luck we call it
    Defeat is an absolute consequense for the one that have neglected to do the necessary preparations - bad luck we call it
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  2. #2
    Ranger Ehecatl's Avatar
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    I'm very sorry to hear that Rune. My thoughts go out to the villagers and you.
    "If you were to ask me what I consider to be my finest achievement, I could answer the question without hesitation: teaching." ~ Raymond Blanc.

  3. #3
    Ent FishyFolk's Avatar
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    Lucky it happened there I think. The houses are built on wooden poles due to the permafrost, instead of normal brick and mortar foundations. So when the avalanche it, it went under first and lifted thge houses off, and carried them on top, instead of smashing into them, crushing the superstructure and filling them with snow. Only one person, a lady was burried by snow inside her own kitchen, but she had a pocket of air, and was found as she was able to bang a casserole against her microwave to make sound.

    Also the locals showed up in force, they had 200 men with showels digging until the all clear was given when everyone was accounted for. The rescue crews that arrived with dogs are now doing a last search to ensure nobody is left in the avalanche.

    This is a village of arctic coal miners, so I think the men knows how to use a shovel...
    Victory awaits the one, that has everything in order - luck we call it
    Defeat is an absolute consequense for the one that have neglected to do the necessary preparations - bad luck we call it
    (Roald Amundsen)

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  4. #4
    Native Peaks's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about that - must have given you quite a shock. It sounds as if things could have been much worse if it had happened at a different time of day.

  5. #5
    Tribal Elder BJ's Avatar
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    devastating news.
    “For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”

  6. #6
    Ent FishyFolk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peaks View Post
    Sorry to hear about that - must have given you quite a shock. It sounds as if things could have been much worse if it had happened at a different time of day.
    It was. Only have happy memories from that place and since it's quite an isolated community up there, people have to learn to stand up for each other. They say your body can leave Lonyearbyen town, but your heart never will. Been skyping with some of my class mates trough the day...a lot people crying because they are not there and can't help.
    Victory awaits the one, that has everything in order - luck we call it
    Defeat is an absolute consequense for the one that have neglected to do the necessary preparations - bad luck we call it
    (Roald Amundsen)

    Bumbling Bushcraft on Youtube
    Nordisk Bushcraft - The Nordic bushcraft blog and forum

  7. #7
    Natural Born Bushcrafter saxonaxe's Avatar
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    Bad news, and it seems even worse when it involves those you know. I hope all the injured recover quickly.

  8. #8
    Ent FishyFolk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saxonaxe View Post
    Bad news, and it seems even worse when it involves those you know. I hope all the injured recover quickly.
    4 of the injured, including the 2 seriously injured children, was medevaced to Tromsø on the mainland. One of the best trauma surgeons in the world is there.
    Also 3 surgical teams arrived with the medevac flights, and the hospital in Longyearbyen is well equipped. So I think there is a good chance that this will end ok.

    Been fantastic to see how the people have rallied up there. Basically everyone just grabbed a headlight and a shovel and came running to help. But this is an isolated community, a mining town.
    They have stared tragedy in the face many times...
    Victory awaits the one, that has everything in order - luck we call it
    Defeat is an absolute consequense for the one that have neglected to do the necessary preparations - bad luck we call it
    (Roald Amundsen)

    Bumbling Bushcraft on Youtube
    Nordisk Bushcraft - The Nordic bushcraft blog and forum

  9. #9
    Moderator jus_young's Avatar
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    Have just been reading about this on the news and did wonder if it had some relation to you Rune. Nature showing it's strength and just how volatile we are.

  10. #10
    NaturalBushcraft Founder Ashley Cawley's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear of the loss, heart warming to see the number of people pictured who were there promptly on-scene to help.
    Ashley Cawley

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