Remembering the crash on Operafjellet 20 years ago
The weather matched the mood as fog and wind engulfed Operafjellet on Monday as about 15 Norwegians and Russians gathered for a memorial stemming from one of Norway’s worst tragedies. “Today it is exactly 20 years ago a Russian airliner crashed on Operafjellet,” said Russian Consul General Vjatsjeslav Nikolajev. “On board the plane were shift workers from Trust Artikugol, many on their way back from vacation and full of the joy about going to families and friends again, but fate decided otherwise. In an instant, the lives of all 141 were swept away.” He laid a wreath at the crash site and Svalbard Governor Kjerstin Askholt noted everyone living in Svalbard suffered from the tragedy. “It is my fervent wish that such a thing will never happen again,” she said. The Tupolev 154 crashed at 10:22 a.m. Aug. 29, 1996, during its approach to Svalbard Airport. The accident was attributed to a series of small navigational errors that resulted in the plane to be nearly four kilometers off-course from its intended line of approach. Norwegian rescuers who reached the crash site about two hours later quickly determined there were no survivors. It remains the deadliest plane crash in Norway’s history.
Parents of avalanche victim seek damages for negligence
The parents of a two-year-old girl killed in the avalanche last Dec. 19 are taking legal action against Store Norske and Longyearbyen’s municipal government, accusing both of gross negligence. Kim Rune Rokenes and Pia Sivertsen. the parents of Nikoline Rokenes, say the city received several reports dating from 1992 warning about the avalanche risk in the housing area where the slide hit. They also assert Store Norske is liable as the owner of the property.