A crew member who apparently fell off the Norwegian Coast Guard ship Nordkapp sometime Saturday morning in the vicinity of Bjørnøya is presumed dead after an extensive search by sea and air, emergency officials announced at midday Sunday.
“There is no longer hope of finding the missing crew member alive, according to a statement by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centres (HRS). “The search continued until morning hours on Sunday, but without a discovery.”
The search was changed from a rescue to a recovery operation at about 9 a.m. Sunday, according to the statement. The Nordkapp and Coast Guard’s Barentshav vessel are continuing to search the area, but 15 civilian vessels that participated the search since yesterday have been dismissed.
The man, identified as Sindre Saltveit, 19, of Vormedal, was last seen at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday when the ship was about 50 nautical miles north-northeast of Bjørnøya and reported missing at 10:10 a.m. after the ship had traveled about 70 nautical miles southeast to just east of the island.
“The missing person is a male, conscripted crew member who was on board as part of his first-time service,” said Endre Barane, communications director for the Royal Norwegian Navy.
Norwegian and Russian vessels, as well as one of The Governor of Svalbard’s rescue helicopters and aircraft from the mainland, searched the area during the day. Visibility was good initially, but began deteriorating at about 4 p.m. and by 6:40 p.m. had deteriorated to the point air searches were called off.
The man’s relatives have been notified, according to the HRS statement.