Wants Russian GSM data in search for Aleksandr
Kirkenes police asks Russian authorities to provide mobile phone tracking in the search for the missing seaman Aleksandr Kotkin.
Aleksandr Kotkin (61) has been missing since Wednesday morning when he was last seen leaving the vessel “Diomedes” at port in Kirkenes. He was then observed by a surveillance camera in the harbor area.
Witnesses then said he was on his way to an area in Kirkenes where Russian GSM roaming is available. The eastern part of the harbor area and a small cliff area just outside the town is often used by Russians to phone home with their mobile phones. GSM signals from the transmitter near Borisoglebsk on the Russian side of the border reaches several kilometers into Norwegian territory.
Large search operation
Forces from the police, Red Cross and the Norwegian Civil Defence have been searching for Aleksandr Kotkin in the area in and around Kirkenes since Wednesday. Dogs are also participating in the search. The Coast Guards is searching the coastline and the harbor areas, with assistance from divers. A Sea King search and rescue helicopter took part in the search on Wednesday.
Cross-border GSM info-exchange
Information adviser at the police, Trude Danielsen, says to BarentsObserver that they have now contacted Russian authorities to get tracks from Russian base stations. This work is in progress, but it is too early to say anything about the results.
Information from the Russian GSM base stations can provide information about Aleksandr Kotkin's mobile phone's current position if it is still turned on. Info can also be provided about the latest movements of the phone and from which area the last phone call was made. If this information is made available, the police and search party could limit the geographical search area better.
Technology of locating a mobile phone is based on measuring power levels and antenna patterns and uses the concept that a powered mobile phone always communicates wirelessly with one of the closest base stations. The closest Russian base in Borisoglebsk is just a few kilometers from Kirkenes. With the knowledge recorded by the base stations, all movements of a mobile phone owner subscribing to the roaming provided by the transmitter can theoretically be followed.