Two German tourists killed in avalanche on Norwegian Arctic island

Two German nationals died on Thursday in an avalanche that hit an Arctic island off northern Norway, officials said.

The two were part of a tourist group organized by a Russian tourist company and were on a snowmobile tour on the island of Spitsbergen in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago.

The avalanche was reported about 20 kilometres south of the Russian mining town of Barentsburg.

Two guides and three other tourists were unharmed. Weather conditions were very poor and a rescue helicopter was unable to land at the scene, the public broadcaster NRK reported. The two deceased were recovered by the other tourists.

There were no immediate details of the gender or identity of the deceased.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg expressed her condolences on Twitter.

Barentsburg is the second largest settlement on Svalbard. It is located about 60 kilometres west of Longyearbyen, the main settlement.

Svalbard, an Arctic archipelago administered by Norway, has some 2,700 inhabitants. Unlike on the mainland, there is no avalanche warning system on the islands.

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