Multiple helicopters and a snowmobile make dramatic rescue from Sweden’s highest mountain

A dramatic rescue operation has taken place on Kebnekaise after a man with a broken leg along with a mountain rescue worker got stuck near Sweden’s highest peak. The accident occurred on tricky terrain, and the rescue operation was strained, involving multiple helicopters as well as a snowmobile.

Multiple helicopters and a snowmobile make dramatic rescue from Sweden's highest mountain
Kebnekaise boasts both of Sweden's two highest peaks. Photo: Stockholms Universitet/TT

The man in his 60s broke his leg on the difficult terrain of a glacier in Kebnekaise's Tarfala valley, according to police in Norrbotten. The alarm was raised on Monday at 16:20.

Initially the decision was taken to use a helicopter to try and rescue him because the location could not be reached by snowmobile and rescuers who specialize in working on steep slopes and cliffs can be lowered down from the air via a winch, but the helicopter had to turn back due to bad weather.

The emergency services later managed to take off from the airport in nearby Kiruna with mountain rescuers on board. By 20:11 rescue workers had finally managed to get the man down from the glacier to a research station in the Tarfala valley, but no further. Along with a broken leg, he also had a chill.

Another helicopter was then sent to the area in an attempt to quickly transport the injured man to hospital, but the weather caused problems again.

He was instead transported by snowmobile to village Nikkaluokta. Just before midnight the man was finally handed over to paramedics for transport forward to hospital, Norrbotten police told news agency TT.

Kebnekaise’s southern peak (2,097.1m above sea level) and northern peak (2,097m above sea level) are the two highest points in Sweden. The southern peak has had a habit of dropping in height for some years now however due to rising temperatures shrinking the glacier which forms its top.