The unique Norwegian mountain formation known as Trolltunga has attracted hikers and adventurers for years, but it’s also been the site of fatal accidents. Now Telenor, Statkraft and the local municipality of Odda have introduced 4G mobile telephone coverage in the area, so emergency help can be summoned more quickly if necessary.
“It’s been a long process,” Bjørn Amundsen of Telenor told state broadcaster NRK after mobile phone service clicked in on Thursday. Odda Mayor Roald Aga Haug called the introduction of coverage “a small step for man but a great leap for mankind” in what he claimed was the first official telephone call from the remote location 1,100 meters over sea level.
More than 50,000 tourists made their way to Trolltunga (literally, “the troll’s toungue”) last year, but their treks don’t always end well. The death of a student in a fall off Trolltunga last autumn was a tragedy officials want to avoid in the future.
They can’t stop foolhardy tourists from venturing too close to Trolltunga’s edge, or paying more attention to taking a selfie than to self-preservation. “But they can at least get help much faster than before, and emergency crews can make a better evaluation of how to carry out a rescue operation,” Bjørn Arild Fjeldsbø of the Norwegian Red Cross told NRK.
As always, though, all involved warned that no one should utterly rely on mobile phones, which can run out of battery, stop functioning in cold weather or still lose coverage. Common sense should prevail, while rescue crews now hope to boost preparedness.