No charges over Brit killed by polar bear

The governor of Norway’s Svalbard archipelago has elected not to bring any charges in the case of a 17-year-old British schoolboy killed by a polar bear last summer.

No charges over Brit killed by polar bear
Photo: Thomas Lysgaard/Scanpix

An investigation into the August 5th incident at the Von Postbreen glacier that left the Eton schoolboy dead and four others injured has concluded that no crime was committed, said deputy governor Lars Erik Alfheim in a statement.

The parents of the victim, Horatio Chapple, have appealed the governor’s decision.

Chapple died after a polar bear attacked a group of young people touring Svalbard with the British Schools Exploring Society (BSES). The group had set up camp near the glacier, 40 kilometres from the regional capital Longyearbyen.

“Tripwire flares had been set up around the tent camp, and the group had two signal pens and a rifle,” according to the statement from the governor’s office.

“The equipment had been tested earlier, but the tripwire did not detonate when the bear entered the camp. A leader tried to fire a shot with the rifle, but did not succeed. When he managed to fire the rifle, the bear had already killed the 17-year-old, and wounded four others, amongst them himself.”

The governor’s office said technical studies had revealed that there were no malfunctions to the rifle, the cartridges or the tripwire flares.

Instead, the accident was the result of “a number of unfortunate circumstances”, leading the governor to conclude that neither BSES nor any of the individuals involved should be charged with criminal negligence.
The prosecutors’ office of Troms and Finnmark will handle the parents’ appeal.

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Norway digitally freezes national treasures and stores them in Arctic archive

Norway’s National Museum has preserved some of the country’s most treasured artefacts digitally and stored them in a former mine on Arctic archipelago Svalbard.

Norway digitally freezes national treasures and stores them in Arctic archive
Photo: Bartek Luks on Unsplash

The Arctic World Archive was originally constructed in 2017 to “protect the world’s most important cultural relics”, the National Museum said on its website.

The data preservation facility is located on the island of Spitsbergen, part of the Svalbard archipelago, not far from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

The National Museum has now placed its entire collection of around 400,000 items as digital copies on plastic film rolls, which are to be stored at the Longyearbyen site.

“The dry, cold and low-oxygen air gives optimal conditions for storing digital archives and the film rolls will have a lifetime of around 1,000 years in the archive,” the museum writes. Emissions emitted by the archive are low due to its low energy consumption.

Offline storage of the archives also insures them against cyber attacks, the museum said.

In addition to all data from the National Museum collection database, high-resolution digital images of works by selected artists are included in the archive.

Works to be stored include ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch, ‘Winter Night in the Mountains’ by Harald Sohlberg, the Baldishol Tapestry and Queen Maud’s ball dress.

“At the National Museum we have works from antiquity until today. We work with the same perspective on the future. The collection is not only ours, but also belongs to the generations after us,” National Museum director Karin Hindsbo said via the museum’s website.

“By storing a copy of the entire collection in the Arctic World Archive, we are making sure the art will be safe for many centuries,” Hindsbo added.

In addition to the Norwegian artefacts, organisations from 15 other countries are represented in the archive, including national museums in Mexico, Brazil and India; the Vatican library, Sweden’s Moderna Museet and Unicef.

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