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OFFBEAT

Tourist’s Antarctic injury costs 1.5 million kroner

After breaking his collar bone during an Antarctic cruise, 70-year-old tourist Olaf Andre Birkeland had to pay 1.5 million kroner ($250,000) to get back to Norway.

“It was an amazing experience that I could have done without,” Birkeland told newspaper VG.

He and his wife were disembarking from the cruise ship Fram at Half Moon Island when the unfortunate traveler slipped on a stone and tumbled backwards.

Once the ship’s doctor ascertained that he had broken his collar bone, the cruise liner quickly set course for King George Island, home to a Chilean military base.

“There I was picked up by a 90-seater four-engine jet plane. My wife and I were the only passengers on the journey to Puerto Arenas in Chile. From Chile, I was flown by air ambulance to Buenos Aires in Argentina, where I lay in hospital for eight days.”

The trip from Antarctica to Buenos Aires alone cost around half a million kroner, he believes.

After racking up more than a week’s worth of hospital charges, he still needed to be brought home to Norway on a stretcher, which was hung from the ceiling at back of the jumbo jet.

Birkeland was full of praise for the assistance he received all the way along his difficult journey home from Antarctica, with medical and airline staff taking the edge off the ordeal.

As he prepared to get some sleep on the transatlantic flight, one of the air hostesses approached his wife to say her husband had requested a goodnight hug.

“I hadn’t expressed any such wish, but it was nice to get it anyway,” he said.

Luckily for Birkeland, the enormous costs were borne by his travel insurer. His experience, he said, should serve as a warning to anyone considering traveling without cover.

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OFFBEAT

Norwegian road authority in hot water for dumping rocks near UNESCO-listed fjord

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration will need to clear up more than 1,000 trucks worth of stones and rubble it left near the stunning UNESCO world heritage listed Nærøyfjord.

Norwegian road authority in hot water for dumping rocks near UNESCO-listed fjord
Nærøyfjorden near to where the Norwegian Public Roads Administration left behind more than 11,000 cubic metres of rocks. Photo by Arian Zwegers on Flickr.

Fly-tipping and rubbish dumping are typically associated with rogue tradespeople and cowboy builders, but it’s the Norwegian Public Roads Administration that is being asked to clear some 11,250 cubic metres of rocks it left near a UNESCO listed beauty spot.

The breathtaking Nærøyfjord in Aurland municipality, south-western Norway, is a landscape conservation area meaning its protected and, therefore, the rubble shouldn’t have been left there.

“This is a blister. We will clean up after ourselves,” Stig Berg Thomassen, project manager for the road authority, told NRK.

The rocks were left behind following a project to upgrade the nearby Gudvanga tunnel.

Thomassen said the mess was left in the conservation area because it wasn’t clearly marked as off-limits.

Nærøyfjorden has been listed as a landscape conservation area since 2002, and the site was added to the UNESCO world heritage list a few years later in 2005.

READ ALSO: You can now get married at this famous Norwegian beauty spot

The municipality in Aurland has given the road authority until December 17th to clear the mess. The mayor for the municipality said the road authority would begin to clear up the remnants of its building project as soon as possible.

The stones won’t be going far, though and will only be moved around 50 to 100 metres along the road to where the conservation area ends.

Project manager Thomassen has admitted that the situation could have been avoided with better planning.

“Yes, we should have probably have done that (prepared better). The situation is as it is, so we just have to clean up. It won’t take long to move the rocks. The Stones will only be transported 50 to 100 meters,” he confessed.

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