A 16-year-old boy out snow-mobiling in a valley in southwestern Norway on Sunday afternoon got caught in an avalanche at Åseral in Vest-Agder. He died after being buried under the mounds of snow and ice for three hours.
Emergency search and rescue crews numbering around 35 people and including two specially trained dogs struggled to find the 16-year-old’s body. He’d been out snowmobiling with others when they were all surprised by the avalanche that crashed down after several days of heavy snowfall in the area.
“What’s happening around Sørlandet and parts of Agder is that lots of snow has fallen and then the temperatures rose,” Andreas Haslestad of state waterways agency NVE told state broadcaster NRK. “That can set off slides.”
No warnings had been posted in the area that’s due north of Mandal in the mountains of southern Norway. Åseral is a small community of around 900 inhabitants and snowmobiling is a popular pasttime in winter. “We talk often about slides and the dangers of snowmobiling,” Thomas Handeland, leader of the local “snow scooter” club. “We talk about safety and the need to take care of each other, because accidents can happen.”
The teenager was flown by helicopter to Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, where he was declared dead Sunday evening. A memorial was planned at his local school on Monday.