Who killed Jan Wiborg?

Erik Strand, August 28, 2014

The preface of the book “Hvem drepte Jan Wiborg?” (Who killed Jan Wiborg) is dated June 21, 2014, exactly 20 years after the death of the Norwegian engineer Jan Wiborg. Unfortunately, the book exists only in Norwegian, but some knowledge of its main content can be useful also for international readers.

Most foreign travellers who land at Oslo Airport, Gardermoen, are not aware of the long lasting controversy about the localisation of this airport or the death of an ingeneer who blew the whistle on what seems to be lies and distortions related to the struggle about the localisation of Norway’s largest airport.

In 1990 Stortinget, Norway’s parliament, decided to locate the future main airport to Gardermoen north of Oslo. This meant overriding a former decision by the parliament to locate the airport to Hurum south of Oslo. The stated reason for this was measurements by the Institute for Meteorology, telling that Hurum was unfit for harbouring an airport due to much fog.

A group of people in favour of the Hurum alternative smelled a rat when fog was used as an argument against Hurum. They wanted to hire an impartial expert to review the work done by the Institute for Meteorology. The task was given to Jan Wiborg, an engineer who was not interested in politics or where the airport should be located, but was known as a skilfull professional with experience in quality control. In a report, Wiborg strongly criticised the mesurements done by the Institute forMeteorology and how they were interpreted. He claimed to be able to demonstrate that the instruments were manipulated, so that they showed a view not clear enough for an airport. This report was sent to all those who were involved, including the Institute for Meteorology and all political parties in the parliament.

On June 21 1994, Wiborg died in a hotel in Copenhagen. His death has been disputed, and my impression are that many Norwegians believe that Wiborg was murdered. The autor of “Hvem drepte Jan Wiborg?”, Knut Lindh, argues that the official explanation, offered by Danish police and a commision instigated by the parliament and led by law professor Eivind Smith, that Wiborgs death was a suicide – or an accident – has several weknesses. Lindh goes deeply into the matter in his book. I will here only give one example of the legitimate questions that can be posed regarding the official explanation.

Wiborg is supposed to have jumped (or fallen) out of the window of room 307 at hotel Cabinn in Copenhagen. One of the pictures in Lindh’s book shows the broken window after Wiborgs death. The window was a two layer termo window. According to Martin Borg, working with windows, it is possible for a human to break such a window, but that is not at all easy. There was not found any items on the room which Wiborg can have used to break the window. And Wiborg was not a big or athletic person. It would have been hard for him to break the window. This point is strengthened by the position of the window, being low on the wall and behind a 30 cm deep frame.

It was said that the window was difficult to open in an ordinary way. Journalist Ebbe Ording, who has written a book about the process leading to the desicion to locate the airport to Gardermoen, was able to open the window. For an engineer as Wiborg one should suppose that it would have been even easier to open the window – in stead of breakin it.