Thursday, August 09, 2007

Arctic glacier breaks, tourists hurt by giant wave

clipped from

OSLO, Norway (Reuters) -- A chunk of an Arctic glacier broke into the sea and triggered a huge wave that injured 18 people on a sightseeing boat, almost all of them British tourists, Norwegian officials said on Thursday.

Four people were seriously hurt in the accident by Hornbreen glacier on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard and were flown south to a hospital in Tromsoe on the mainland. The others were treated at a local hospital, mostly for minor injuries.

"The glacier calved (split off) and a big wave washed over the boat," Elisabeth Bjoerge Loevold, acting governor of Svalbard, told Reuters. "The boat rocked back and forth and passengers fell on the deck."

"We believe there was no ice from the glacier directly on to the deck, but we don't have all the details," she said. Some Norwegian media reports had earlier said the boat was showered with ice from the glacier.

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