One man killed after avalanche hits remote Arctic settlement in Norway

The avalanche hit the town of Longyearbyen after a night of stormy conditions

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File photo. JOHN MCCONNICO / AP/Press Association Images

One person was killed and nine others injured after an avalanche smashed into homes in Norway.

The deluge of snow tore houses from their foundations, turned over cars and buried a number of people under metres of snow, in the remote Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.

Rescuers searching through the icy debris had to contend with the winter darkness and below-freezing temperatures.

They dug at least one woman out from underneath the snow.

The avalanche left one man in his 40s dead. Of the nine hurt, two children and one adult are in a serious condition.

Government spokesman Tone Hertsberg said 10 houses were struck by the avalanche while dozens of others were evacuated as a precaution.

The deadly snow slide which started on Sukkertoppen mountain shortly after 11am on Saturday, came the day after a storm - reportedly the worst in 30 years - hit the area with winds of up to 95km/h.

Between November and February, the region is in constant winter darkness and does not see the sun.

Svalbard, which has about 2,600 residents, is more than 500 miles from the Norwegian mainland and is known for its mountains and glaciers.