UPDATED: Search crews aided by the Norwegian military have finally found the bodies of all three men caught in an avalanche on Senja during the Easter holiday week. More bad weather forced an end to the weekend search that resulted in the recovery of two bodies on Sunday. The search resumed on Monday and police confirmed recovery of the third body Monday night.
After blasting their way through mounds of heavy, hard-packed snow, the crews also recovered the last two of the snowmobiles the men were driving when they disappeared in Tromdalen on March 26. The first of the three snowmobiles was found the same day the avalanche hit, along with one of the men’s helmets, but bad weather and the danger of more avalanches forced suspension of further search efforts.
The grim work resumed over the weekend after military and geologists joined in. The two remaining snowmobiles were found around 2pm Sunday and the two bodies on Sunday as well. They were buried under an estimated eight meters of snow and ice.
Officials called off the search for the third victim when the weather turned bad again Sunday evening. The vicitms’ families were being kept informed as the search progressed. “We are glad we found the two, but sorry we didn’t manage to find all three today,” regional sheriff Arnold Nilsen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) Sunday night. “There are enormous masses of snow that we must search through, and time unfortunately ran out today.”
Their job was completed on Monday, with the victims identified as brothers Robert and Anders Mortensen and Børge Gundersen, all from Skaland in the municipality of Berg on Senja. Around 200 persons took part in the search for the avalanche victims.