HELICOPTER HOVERING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Rescuers searching for missing hiker above homes mystifies residents


A helicopter hoving just above homes at Sukkertoppen and Gruvedalen near the center of Longyearbyen at about 10 p.m. Saturday prompted plenty of puzzled inquiries from residents below, as the aircraft was searching for a missing hiker who soon afterwards was located after being unable to communicate because his mobile phone battery was dead, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

The man was participating in the annual Topptrimutfordringen challenge this weekend, which requires participants to hike all ten peaks surrounding Longyearbyen within 24 hours, and failed to meet up with companions at an agree-upon time, Police Chief Lt. Arve Johnsen told Svalbardposten. They contacted the governor who searched the neighborhoods and Longyeardalen before discovering the missing man was safe.

The challenge is self-guided and cell phone coverage can be spotty in the nearby mountains, making an emergency locator beacon necessary for treks.