Harsh winter conditions hamper the search for survivors on a ravaged hill in a village north of Oslo.
Norwegian authorities insisted there was “still hope” of finding survivors in air pockets five days after landslide killed at least seven people as it swept away houses in a village north of the capital. Three people are still missing.
Police spokesman Roger Pettersen said search efforts in the landslide-affected village of Ask, 25 kilometers (16 miles) northeast of Oslo, are still considered “a rescue operation” Monday. But only seven bodies have been found in recent days.
The sub-freezing temperatures in the region “work against us, but we have been very clear in our advice to (rescuers) that as long as there are cavities where the missing can stay, it is possible to survive”, Dr Halvard said. Stave, who is participating in the rescue operation.
Search teams patrolled with dogs as helicopters and drones fitted with heat-sensing cameras flew through harsh winter conditions over the ravaged hill of Ask, a village of 5,000 that was hit by the worst landslide in land of modern Norwegian history. At least 1,000 people were evacuated.
The early morning December 30 landslide crossed a road through Ask, leaving a deep crater-shaped ravine. Photos and videos showed buildings hanging from the edge of the ravine, which reached 700 meters long and 300 meters wide. At least nine buildings with more than 30 apartments were destroyed.
Norway’s limited daylight hours at this time of year and fears of further erosion hampered rescue operations. The ground is fragile at the site and unable to support the weight of the rescue equipment.
The exact cause of the crash is not yet known, but the municipality of Gjerdrum, where Ask is located, is known to have a lot of quick clay, a material that can change from solid to liquid form. Experts said the type of clay, combined with excessive rainfall and the wet weather typical of Norway at this time of year, may have contributed to the landslide.
“It’s completely terrible,” King Harald V said after the Norwegian royal family visited the landslide site on Sunday.