AVALANCHE UPDATE: Memorial service for Atle Husby, cleanup of wrecked homes to begin tomorrow


A memorial service for Atle Husby, 42, a musician Longyearbyen School teacher who was killed in Saturday’s avalanche, is scheduled at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Svalbard Church.

Husby, who has three young children, was fatally trapped in one of the ten homes buried by a wave of snow up to four meters high in the Saturday morning avalanche.

“He was a wonderful teacher for our students, and a sociable, knowledgeable, fun and inclusive colleague that we all appreciated,” Headmaster Anne Søvold Vikanes told Verdens Gang. The void left by him at school will be huge.”

Also killed as a result of the snowslide was Nikoline Røkenes, 2, who was buried for two hours in her parents’ home with her sister Pernille, 3. Both were transported to Tromsø hospital for treatment, but Nikoline was pronounced dead Sunday.

Efforts to remove the damaged homes will begin Tuesday, according to a statement released by the city Monday. The first priority will be providing access to Vei 230 homes nos. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14.

“It is a house that is blocking the way to the said row of houses,” the statement notes. “The house owned by Store Norske and has been unoccupied for a while.”

People with property in the evacuated areas who need temporary housing can contact Tine Mari Thornes at 7902 2150 or tine.mari.thornes@lokalstyre.no.

Counseling is also being offered by Svalbard Church at 7902 5560, with licensed help available through Longyearbyen Hospital at 7902 4200.