Norway: Three stay lacking after landslide that left seven useless | Atmosphere Information
Harsh winter conditions hamper the search for survivors on devastated hills in the village north of Oslo.
Norwegian officials have insisted that there is “still hope” of finding survivors trapped in air, five days after a landslide killed at least seven people while carrying away houses in a village north of the capital. Three people are still missing.
Police spokesman Roger Pettersen said the search efforts in the landslide-affected village of Ask, 25 kilometers northeast of Oslo, are still considered a “rescue operation” until Monday. However, only seven bodies have been found in recent days.
Sub-freezing temperatures in the region “are working against us, but we made it very clear in our advice to the (rescuers) that it is possible to survive as long as there are cavities in which the missing have remained,” said Dr. Halvard Stave taking part in the rescue operation.
Search teams patrolled dogs while helicopters and drones with thermal detectors flew in harsh winter conditions over the devastated hill in Ask, a 5,000-inhabitant village hit by the worst landslide in modern Norwegian history. At least 1,000 people have been evacuated.
In the early morning of December 30th, a landslide crossed a road through Ask, leaving a deep, crater-like canyon. Photos and videos showed buildings on the edge of the gorge, which was 700 meters long and 300 meters wide. At least nine buildings with more than 30 apartments were destroyed.
The limited number of hours of daylight in Norway at this time of year and fears of further erosion have hampered rescue operations. The soil on the construction site is fragile and cannot support the weight of the rescue equipment.
The exact cause of the accident is not yet known, but the community of Gjerdrum, where Ask is located, is known to contain a lot of fast-paced clay, a material that can change from solid to liquid form. Experts said the type of clay combined with excessive rainfall and the humid weather typical of Norway at this time of year may have contributed to the landslide.
“This is absolutely terrible,” said King Harald V after Norwegian kings visited the landslide site on Sunday.