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Two German tourists killed in Arctic avalanche

February 21, 2020

The pair were part of a snowmobile tour of an island, organized by a Russian travel company. The guides and three other tourists survived unscathed.

The Wahlenberg Glacier is seen in Oscar II land at Spitsbergen
Image: Reuters/H. McKay

Two Germans were killed on Thursday in an avalanche on an Arctic island off northern Norway, officials said.

The tourists were part of a guided group traveling with a Russian company, and were on a snowmobile tour of the island of Spitsbergen in Norway's Svalbard archipelago.

Read moreAustrian skier buried under avalanche for 5 hours survives

The avalanche happened in the area about 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of Longyearbyen, the biggest settlement on the archipelago.

Two guides and three other tourists were unharmed. A helicopter with rescue personnel and an avalanche dog were sent to the scene, according to the office of the governor of Svalbard. However, the helicopter was unable to land due to poor weather conditions, local media said.

Read moreDeadly avalanches kill two in German, Austrian Alps

The two deceased have not yet been publicly identified.

Svalbard, an Arctic archipelago administered by Norway, has a population of just under 3,000. Unlike on the mainland, there is no avalanche warning system on the islands. 

Read moreSwiss avalanche kills 4 German skiers

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lc/rt (Reuters, dpa)