Avalanche seekers are almost pinpointed

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Tamok Avalanche seekers finns

From the left, the Finns André Stenfors (32), Niklas Nyman (36) and Mikael Sten (29) are three of the four who are believed to have perished in the avalanche in Tamokdalen last week. Photo: Private / NTB scanpix

The last two avalanche seekers are located in the avalanche area in the Tamok Valley in Troms during helicopter searches in the night before Wednesday, the police confirms. 

“We have made discoveries, that is, signals from the transmitting and receiving equipment in the helicopter,” Operations Manager in Troms Police District, Rune Nilsen, tells NTB.

The localisation was made during a helicopter search in the search area. All four avalanche seekers are thus located in the avalanche in the Tamok Valley, where four top tourists are still missing. Signals from the two other avalanche seekers were picked up on Friday.

The distance between the discoveries on Friday and Wednesday precludes that the signals stem from the same avalanche seekers. The police assert that it is certain that all four the missing persons are caught in the avalanche below Blåbærtoppen (Blueberry Peak).

The result of the search is that we have a defined area that will be further scanned in the search for the missing persons, the police states.

On Wednesday, more helicopter searches will be conducted to further delineate the focus area.

Electronic search

The searches during Wednesday night were performed by a Sea King helicopter from the Armed Forces’ 330 helicopter squadron with crew suspended below the aircraft. Having a good view of the ground. They started earlier than planned because the weather cleared up enough during the night to facilitate for over-flying the avalanche.

The helicopter used transmitter and receiver equipment to obtain accurate positions of the two signals picked up previously. In addition, the hope was to locate the last two seekers in the snow masses. This will make it easier for the ground crews to dig out the missing tourists.

There are no plans to deploy ground crews in the search today.

“It is not justifiable to deploy ground crews as the conditions are now. The plan is to locate the missing persons first, then consider the avalanche hazard and secure the area before the persons are dug out and removed from the site,” Nilsen explains.

Missing since last Wednesday

The four missing skiing tourists are three male Finns: Mikael Sten (29), Niklas Nyman (36), André Stenfors (32) and a Swedish woman, Disa Bäckström (29). They were on a top tour to Blåbærfjellet and were last observed at 2 pm on Wednesday, January 2nd. After a few hours, a fifth person of the tour group became worried and notified the police.

The police have stated that there is no longer any hope of finding survivors and that they are, therefore, searching for bodily remains. The main theory of the police is that the four are buried in the avalanche.

“We no longer receive a signal from the two avalanche seekers which were located on Friday. These findings are marked, but it is necessary to position the discovery as accurately as possible. It will limit the focus area. The avalanche must, therefore, also be searched thoroughly with Recco equipment. This is planned to conduct with assistance from the Helicopter team during daylight on Wednesday,“ the police write in its press release.


Source : Norway Info

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