Terrain near Troms, Norway | Photo: Kitty Terwolbeck 

Authorities announced on Friday that they have little hope for three Finns and a Swede who were reportedly swept away by an avalanche while skiing near the Norwegian region of Troms.

We are absolutely convinced that there is no medical basis to continue to search for (these people) as if they were still alive,” University Hospital of North Norway Doctor Mads Gilbert told The Local Sweden. Survival rates for avalanches like the one in question could be measured “in minutes, not hours,” he added.

Rescue crews were precluded by severe weather from continuing their search on Thursday, a day after the avalanche occurred. Reuters did, however, report that crews spotted ski tracks entering the avalanche area, but not leaving.

According to the Reuters, Troms Police Chief Astrid Elisabeth Nilsen told a news conference:

This confirms our assumption that the missing have been caught in the avalanche. It has now been 38 hours since the avalanche took place.

Tromsø is the largest city in northern Norway, situated about 217 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It’s popular as a destination for watching the northern lights, as well as with outdoor enthusiasts looking to ski, fish, and dogsled.

The identities of those now presumed dead have not been released.

Read the full story from Reuters here.

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