The majestic, snow-capped mountains of northern Norway attract tourists from Norway and abroad.
Since last Sunday, there have been four avalanches in this part of the country alone, with fifteen people killed in avalanches. Most of them were foreign ski enthusiasts, one of whom lost his life.
– Troms has been Norway’s worst avalanche district for years, says Matz Gilbert, chief physician at the University Hospital of Northern Norway (UNN).
– Intensify the work
– We need to intensify the work to reach out to tour guides and all the guests who come here, Gilbert believes.
Over the past week, avalanches have put great pressure on recovery and hospital capacity in northern Norway.
– It is clear that both the recovery tool and the treatment machine are subject to major depreciation. Sure, we always do, but it’s beyond total emergency preparedness, and because of these large – scale landslide accidents we had to postpone surgeries and transfer patients to other hospitals, Gilbert tells TV2.
– Foreign guests coming to northern Norway to go to the summit knew very badly about how dangerous it was. Gilbert hopes to do extra work to reach out to foreign tour operators and all foreign skiing tourists coming to the area.
He points out that avalanches that occur in areas with a domestic climate are different from those that occur with a coastal climate.
– Avalanches are very dangerous, new research shows.
Since the ski season 2011/2012, a total of 66 people have died in landslides. Thirty-two of them were killed in an avalanche in the Old Troms district. Many of these are foreigners.
Gilbert believes that many foreigners who come here have “pressure” to go skiing. They travel long distances, pay more for travel and are only here for a short time. This increases the risk of taking unnecessary opportunities, he believes.
Taken at the avalanche
Last Sunday, Juan Manuel Losada, an Argentine athlete living in Tromsø, and four ski friends were trapped in a several hundred meter long landslide in Malankan. Only twenty meters from the top, Juan was hit by a huge avalanche.
– We fell 600 meters away due to a landslide in a sewer, Juan Manuel Losada explains to TV2.
He says all of this lasted more than a minute and he was thrown out without any restraint. When he last stopped, he realized he could not move a leg.
The steep canal between the two mountain sides may have been damaged by a collision with hard snow or rock on his way.
– Breathing only I thought, on the way down, explains Argentina.
Juan was airlifted to a university hospital in Tromso by helicopter.
– This is a good rescue operation, says Juan who is very grateful for the rescue effort.
Triggering is not a risk
Juan has many years of experience and has traveled to numerous summits. He had returned earlier due to bad weather.
– When we went up we thought the situation was safe, there was a lot of snow and little snow. We finally saw that it was snowing a lot, but when it was too late, Juan agreed.
– When it was short again, was it so tempting to try to go all the way?
– Yes, maybe, but like I said, it’s too late to return.
Juan says he aims to be physically and completely healthy again and then focus on new summit hikes.
– Triggering is not dangerous. It is experiences in nature and in the mountains. Risk is something we accept to enjoy the mountains and the landscape, Juan promises to do everything he can to act as safely as possible.
More and more foreign skiers are being taken away by landslides
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