|Shortly after 1300 hrs on wednesday March 5, 1986, a snow avalanche released from Storebalak, a mountain located at Vassdalen in Nordland county. The avalanche struck 31 men from the North Norway Brigade while they were moving snowmobiles along a stream valley on the north side of Storebalak. Thirty men (3 sergeants and 27 soldiers) originated from Platoon 2, Engineer Company, and one soldier had been borrowed from Infantry Battalion 3. All of the men were swept along by the avalanche, and to a greater or lesser extent, buried in the snow mass. A total of 16 of the 31 men were killed in the accident, and there were 15 survivors.
The accident took place in association with the Nato winter exercise, Anchor Express. According to the battle plan, Brigade North was to advance northward along the highway E6 from the Bjerkvik area near Narvik. One battalion, Infantry Battalion 3 was to carry out a flank operation through the valleys Vassdalen, Bukkedalen and Rauddalen to Bonnes, in order to come behind the enemy and cut off the E6 at Salangsdalen.
The opening of a snowmobile track through the abovementioned valleys as early as possible, was essential to carrying out this operation. Platoon 2, from the Engineer Company, Brigade North, was in the process of preparing this track when the accident took place.