Search goes on for missing men

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More than a dozen friends and family members of three Norwegians who disappeared on Greenland plan to carry on the search for two still missing. The body of a man found in a river where the three were fishing has now been identified.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Wednesday that police on Greenland had confirmed that the body recovered earlier this week was that of Tormod Aniksdal, age 24, of Jæren in western Norway.

Aniksdal and two others, Magnar Haarr, also 24, and Jonas Reiestad, age 31, were declared missing after they failed to turn up as agreed at a pick-up point on Friday. They were supposed to meet at the mouth of the river that runs through the valley where they’d been fishing near Søndre Strømfjord (Kangerlussuaq).

They’d been on a weeklong fishing trip in the rugged Paradisdalen near Søndre Strømfjord on Greenland’s west coast. Officials started searching for them over the weekend, eventually found their backpacks and then the body of one man.

Circumstances of their disappearance remained mysterious, not least after police reported finding a raft made from three air mattresses held together by twigs and rope. It’s believed the men made the raft and used it in an attempt to cross the icy river that flows through the valley where they were fishing. 

“We have indications that the missing have tried to either cross or travel down the river on the raft, and that things went wrong,” Farde Olsen of the Søndre Strømfjord police station told newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad.

Thomas Olsen, a local guide familiar with the area, said the men “must have had a very good reason for building the raft” and perhaps didn’t realize that the river could turn turbulent and dangerous downstream.

Police question what could have motivated them to set off on such crude craft, speculating that perhaps one of them was injured or that they felt some other need for quick transport out of the valley. There is no mobile phone coverage in the area and the men had no satellite phone.

A group of 14 persons from the men’s hometown at Jæren, south of Stavanger, flew to the area to continue the search for Haarr and Reiestad, against the wishes of local police who now fear for the search team’s safety as well.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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