The Governor of Svalbard was informed slightly before 3 p.m. Thursday that two people who were part of a tour organized by Russian firm Arctic Travel Company Grumant were missing near the Fridtjov glacier.
A helicopter and an avalanche dog were immediately dispatched to the remote islands but the two, who were not identified, were confirmed dead by rescuers, the governor said in a statement. The glacier is located near Barentsburg, a Russian coal-mining town. Under a 1920 treaty, Norway has sovereignty over the archipelago, but other signatory countries have rights to exploit its natural resources.
Barentsburg, Svalbard's second-largest settlement, has 435 inhabitants, mostly Russians and Ukrainians.