Rescue operation underway in Norway to reach Polish extreme traveller
Local rescuers are trying to reach Polish extreme traveller Marcin Gienieczko trapped in the Sassendalen region on the Norwegian polar archipelago but difficult weather conditions are hindering the rescue operation.
Gienieczko intended to ski uphill to the highest peak of the archipelago - Mount Newton (1,713 m above sea level).
According to the Polish channel News 24, the expedition's partner, the wind blowing at a speed of 144 kilometres per hour, snowfall and a temperature of minus 36 degrees for two days have prevented Gienieczko from leaving the tent.
"The man is aware of his position, he has used radio buoys and is waiting for help. Unfortunately, a snowstorm prevents further operations in Svalbard," News 24 said in a statement.
A spokeswoman for the Governor of Svalbard, Eva Therese Jenssen, told PAP on Friday that Gienieczko had called for help on Friday at 8.45 when he began to freeze. According to her, an attempt was made to send a helicopter to rescue the man, but bad weather prevented the flight.
Later, a group of rescuers on scooters set out on a rescue mission but had to turn back because of the snowstorm. "On Friday afternoon, we sent a patrol of rescuers on scooters again, the conditions are still difficult," Jenssen said.
She also said that "his sleigh was likely completely buried, meaning Marcin had lost his fuel and food supplies." The ones he has with him are enough for a day and a half. The frame of the tent, which was his only shelter, also failed – only part of it is still standing.
The current temperature in Svalbard is minus 16 degrees.