By Federico Cornetto


A brave adventurer visited an eerie abandoned coal mine on a remote Arctic island.

In August, Dutch explorer Bob Thissen, 33, travelled all the way to the Svalbard islands, a  Norwegian archipelago close to the North Pole, with a population of only 2,000 people and harsh weather conditions throughout the year.

While visiting Longyearbyen, the biggest town in the archipelago, Bob decided to explore Mine 2, a coal mine built by the Arctic Coal Company in 1913 and abandoned in 1968.

Despite Bob’s long experience exploring abandoned buildings, the adventurer was unsettled by the dark and treacherous building and the presence of big pawprints inside the mine.

Bob said: “I was exploring on my own, and Svalbard is polar bear country, so I had to be careful, especially when I saw big pawprints inside the mine.

“The mine buildings could be the perfect hideout for the animals.

“Apart from that, the most dangerous part was the permafrost, everything is frozen and it’s really slippery.

“I wanted to go deeper into the mine to the shaft, but big blocks of ice blocked the entrance.

“I could squeeze through, but with an empty flashlight and not knowing if I’d slide into a big pit by accident, I decided not to explore further.

“I was amazed by the state of the building, it’s been abandoned for over fifty years but there are still a lot of artefacts.”