Two killed in glacier accident on Kebnekaise

TT/The Local
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Two killed in glacier accident on Kebnekaise

Two Finnish citizens, a 28-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman, died on Tuesday in an accident on Storglaciären in Kebnekaise, Sweden's highest mountain in the north, according to police.


The deceased were part of a group of five people on a climbing trip.

"They were five in a group who were climbing on a rock wall," said Henry Wälitalo, county officer of the guard of Norrbotten police. "The man and the woman climbed second and third in the team."

According to police, the deceased had fallen into the glacier. No one else in the party, all Finnish, was injured.

"It was a landslide accident," said Roger Jönsson of Norrbotten police. "A boulder fell down and hit the people who died."

Bad weather interrupted a helicopter rescue operation. Police were preparing a rescue operation by helicopter, but poor visibility made it impossible to fly to the scene.

Instead, police reported that an alpine rescue team is currently attempting to drive to Nikkaluokta about 11 km west of Kiruna in the hopes of possibly flying to the site from there. The deceased persons were part of a larger group that were at Storgläciaren, according to Norrbotten police.

"A person in the party alerted us," said Jönsson.

The accident occurred in Pallin's corridor on the edge of the glacier. Police received word of the accident shortly before 1pm, when a member of the group called and said that two people were seriously injured. The corridor is at an altitude of about 1,700 meters.

At 4pm, it became clear that rescue efforts would be in vain. Police later received word from the rest of the group that the man and the woman had died. They are now trying to reach the scene to take care of the other three climbers.

"We will try to fly by helicopter from Nikkaluokta, but the visibility is extremely poor," said Wälitalo.

Storglaciären is located on the eastern slope of Kebnekaise, which is 2,104 metres above sea level at the latest measurement. The glacier is about 3.5 km long and covers an area of 3.1 square kilometres.


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