Man survived avalanche near Trollfjord

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A 50-year-old man who’s been a mountain guide for Queen Sonja survived an hour-and-a-half buried under the snow on Sunday, after an avalanche crashed down on a group of highly experienced outdoor enthusiasts. The group of nine were snowshoeing their way down a recommended winter trail on the border between Lofoten and Vesterålen when the avalanche hit.

They’d been attending a board meeting of the Vesterålen trekking association at the association’s cabin near the Trollfjord. Trond Løkke leads the board and also has lead numerous hikes and expeditions in the area for many years. He has guided Queen Sonja on several mountain hikes in the area and was nominated for a national prize for his efforts to promote mountaineering.

On Sunday morning he suddenly disappeared in the avalanche. Members of the group summoned help and worked furiously to find and dig for Løkke under the snow. They were eventually aided by a helicopter search and rescue crew sent from Bodø that included a doctor and two specially trained dogs. They found him, with police telling state broadcaster NRK that “he was breathing and moved but was chilled.” He was flown to the University of North Norway’s hospital in Tromsø, where he was reported to be in stable condition on Monday.

His survival was described as “the exception to the rule” by the leader of the search and rescue service in Northern Norway, Frode Iversen. “If you survive the avalanche itself, you have some possibility of surviving for around a half-hour (under the snow),” Iversen told NRK. “After that, your chances are much worse.”

The avalanche this early in the season underscored the dangers of mountain trekking, even by experienced hikers and skiers familiar with the area. Officials at the national trekking association, Den Norske Turistforening, hailed the search and rescue effort and thanked all involved for their contribution towards saving Løkke.

newsinenglish.no staff