Four days after a violent landslide in southern Norway, rescue workers have now found seven deaths in the disaster area. After the first find on New Year’s Day and three on Saturday, the emergency services discovered three other dead people on Sunday. Several people were still missing in the evening. Even more than 100 hours after the disaster, the rescuers did not give up hope of being able to find survivors.
The fate of the people in the disaster area around 40 kilometers northeast of Oslo had accompanied the Norwegians over the turn of the year. The Norwegian royal family also showed their sympathy. King Harald V, Queen Sonja and Crown Prince Haakon traveled to Gjerdrum Municipality to meet representatives of the community, emergency services and those affected. In the commune church they also lit candles in memory of the victims. “That is absolutely terrible,” said Harald afterwards about the accident. “It’s very hard to put into words.”
The landslide in the village of Ask, which is part of Gjerdrum commune, occurred in the early morning of December 30th. The landslide had extended over a length of about 700 meters and a width of 300 meters and left a huge crater. At least ten people were injured and nine houses with more than 30 residential units collapsed. Around 1,000 people have been brought to safety so far.
The rescuers have been looking for survivors since Friday
The ground in parts of the snow-covered accident area was initially so unstable after departure that it was too dangerous for the rescue workers to enter. Instead, helicopters and drones were used to search for survivors. Since Friday, rescuers and police dogs could also be sent on foot to the red zone of the area, whereupon the first body was found.
Of the seven fatalities, only the identity of the first person found is known: It is a 31-year-old man. This was apparently a friend of the Norwegian world-class tennis professional Casper Ruud.
“We lost a fantastic person and a fantastic fellow citizen. I’ve lost a friend, colleague and an important colleague on my team, «wrote the 22-year-old on Instagram. According to the NTB news agency, the 31-year-old has worked with several sports professionals.
Ten people were missing. Among them were men, women and two girls, ages two and thirteen.