WOMAN DIES IN SNOWMOBILE ACCIDENT ON LONGYEARBREEN: Visitor in private tour group killed Sunday afternoon after mishap at base of glacier south of Longyearbyen, officials say


Map by the Norwegian Polar Institute

A Trondheim woman visiting Svalbard was killed Sunday afternoon in a snowmobile accident during a group trip on Longyearbreen, according to officials.

Kristin Sommervold, born in 1972, was part of a four-snowmobile group on a private-run tour consisting of adults and children when the accident occurred, according to a statement by Lt. Gov. Magnus Rindal Fredriksen.

“The accident must have happened in the moraine below the glacier in connection with the return to Longyearbyen,” the statement notes. “It is at this stage too early to say anything about the cause of the incident.”

A rescue helicopter from the governor’s office was sent to the scene just south of Longyearbyen at about 3 p.m. It was minus 16 degrees Celsius and breezy at the accident site, with no recent snow, according to NRK.

Police have conducted interviews of those witnessing the accident and have taken possession of the wrecked snowmobile as part of the ongoing investigation, according to Fredriksen.

Longyearbyen Mayor Arild Olsen told Svalbardposten the accident is a tragedy, and appropriate counselling and other help is being offered to the other members of the tour group and the victim’s family.

“We of course will contribute with what is needed, and make sure that the relatives and the rest of the snowmobile entourage are taken care of in the way that is necessary now,” he said.