Tag Archives: Red Cross

IT’S SNOW JOKE: Governor issues avalanche warning after snowslides in mountains south of town despite scant snow – but if you see lots of rescuers in the area today don’t panic


There’s little snow on the ground, but there’s still enough to trigger several small avalanches in the Lars Hiertafjellet/Trollsteinen area south of Longyearbyen, prompting The Governor of Svalbard to issue an alert Monday about travel in the area.

Adding to that bit of odd news is another item with odd timing, as local Red Cross volunteers are planning a search and rescue exercise Tuesday evening in the Huset/Nybyen area near the base of the “avalanche zone.”

Learning from loss: Local and visiting Red Cross rescuers try new type of training exercise based on 2015 avalanche


Rescuers frantically dug the human-like shape out of a tightly packed mix of snow and smashed bed debris, then one of them laughed when someone asked if they could guess the sex of the “victim.” After carefully loading the “body” – in reality a life-sized doll – on a makeshift stretcher consisting of a loose board among the debris they tossed it back in the corner, then shoveled snow and wreckage back on what apparently was a “her.”

Presumably not all of that would occur during a real avalanche rescue. But the hasty you’re-saved-you’re-not operation was part of an afternoon where about 40 Red Cross rescuers from Longyearbyen and the mainland divided into four teams to practice four different rescue aspects involving an avalanche submerging a residence and the surrounding area in snow and wreckage.