Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of July 23, 2019

Walking through a mining settlement from early 1900s from your couch, two rescue helicopters sent out when a sailboat catches fire and the city government fines itself 50,000 kroner for violations while working on upgrades to its own building.

Virtual reality tour of Advent City as it was in 1908 set to debut in August
A 3D interactive tour of Advent City as it appeared when it was a productive coal mining settlement near Longyearbyen is scheduled to be unveiled during the second week of August, said Frigga Kruse, who has conducted more than ten years of archaeological work in Svalbard including leading a project in the mining settlement following her first visit there in 2014. “I saw immediately that the houses were the same ones that had been standing all that time, they had not been changed in any way,” she said. “Everything is original, minus some small repairs. It was absolutely amazing.” The virtual tour will allow users to explore both the settlement – including entering some of the buildings – and immediate surrounding area of Hiorthhamn, the shore area across the bay from Longyearbyen. The tour will be unveiled during presentations at Svalbard Museum and Longyearbyen Library.


A rescue helicopter passes above a sailboat in Isfjorden that caught fire at about 4:25 a.m. Sunday. Photo by Lufttransport.

‘Very dramatic’ sailboat fire prompts major rescue response
A sailboat with 12 people aboard that caught fire in Isfjorden early Sunday morning sent a distress call that resulted in The Governor of Svalbard deploying both of its rescue helicopters and its Polarsyssel service vessel to the scene to retrieve the boat’s occupants. “We were called by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centres at 4:25 a.m. about a fire on a sailing boat in Isfjorden,” said Police Chief Lt. Kjell Arne Lundin. “It was a very dramatic message.” The four crew members and eight passengers boarded a liferaft when the fire alarm went off, but by the time officials reached the scene there was no visible smoke and the occupants were lifted to the helicopter for transport back to Longyearbyen. The sailboat, which appeared to have suffered an electrical fire, was towed back to Longyearbyen.

Longyearbyen’s municipal government fines Longyearbyen’s municipal government 50,000 kroner
One part of Longyearbyen’s bureaucracy has fined another part of the bureaucracy for doing construction work outside the Næringsbygget municipal building without a permit. The city’s building department was forced to suspend work last week after it was determined they hadn’t filed the necessary application, resulting in the fine from the Planning and Development department. “Work was started without applying and then the case was followed up like everyone else in the city,” said Morten Dyrstad, the city’s technical services chief. “It was a quite normal case process.” Longyearbyen’s community council now has three weeks to decide if it will pay or appeal the fine.