The Kings Bay Coal Company at Spitzbergen was taken over by the Norwegian government in 1933. The rough arctic conditions caused many difficulties. Over the years, the coal mine had already experienced some explosions when the disaster struck in 1962. 21 miners were killed. The disaster was investigated by two governmental commissions. Little by little, more and more attention was paid to the fact that the employer and owner was the government. The final commission accused the employer of violating the working environment and safety regulations. The disaster was debated in the Norwegian parliament in 1963. The Labour Government had to resign on a vote of no confidence. But what was the working environment at Kings Bay like? Were the accusations of violations of regulations substantiated? The direct cause of the disastrous explosion has never been identified.