Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of May 9, 2017


Condition of tour guide that fell through ice upgraded
A Russian guide who sustained life-threatening injured when six snowmobilers broke through the ice of Templefjorden on April 27 has been upgraded to stable condition, according to officials. The incident occurred at about 5:30 p.m. when an expedition of 25 members divided into three groups was returning from a trip to Pyramiden the previous day. Four people were retrieved from the water by a rescue helicopter 48 minutes later, two people were retrieved from the ice surface soon after and three more people originally thought missing were found nearby at Fredheim after they managed to avoid falling in. Seven people sustained injuries, with one woman as well as the guide transported to a hospital in Tromsø for treatment. “In my opinion, this could not have been done faster,” said Svalbard Gov. Kjerstin Askholt. “Many people here made the right decisions in every respect. Air transport was unusually fast, and the pilots and rescuers quickly gained an overview. My police officers made very good and correct decisions the whole time, and the crew from the Red Cross made a fantastic effort. In addition, we were fortunate that the KV Svalbard was nearby and could assist with the rescue work. Our local hospital also made a formidable effort. There were many who worked well together and that made it as successful as it was.”

Literary festival coming to Longyearbyen in September
Longyearbyen, which is already getting a literary upgrade with a new library, is also scheduled to host its first liturate festival from Sept. 4-8. Elin Anita Olsrud, head of Longyearbyen Library, said the idea was initatived when NRK contacted her about filming five internationally reknowned authors in Svalbard for a TV program and the festival will overlap with that filming. The only confirmed author for the program so far is Annie Prolux (“Broke Back Mountain”and “The Shipping News”). But the festival has booked Norwegian authors Maya Lunde (“Bienes Historie”), and Jørn Lier Horst. “Lunde and Horst were chosen because they also write books for children,” Olsrud said. Both are scheduled to visit the local schools and kindergartens.