Copenhagen, Denmark (AFP) — Norwegian officials insisted on Monday that there was still «hope» to find survivors in air pockets five days after a landslide killed at least seven people while transporting homes in a village north of the capital. Three people are still missing.
Police spokesman Roger Petersen said the search efforts in the landslide-hit village of Ask, 25 kilometers (16 miles) northeast of Oslo, were still considered a «rescue operation.» But bodies have only been found in the past few days.
Dr. said. The below-freezing temperatures in the area «are working against us, but we were very clear in our advice to (rescuers) that as long as there were cavities where the missing might have remained, it was possible to survive.» Halvard Staff, who is involved in the rescue.
Temperatures in ASC were -8 ° C (17.6 ° F) on Monday.
«I still describe the situation as very unrealistic,» said Anders Oestensen, the mayor of Gjerdrum, where the Ask is located.
Authorities said one victim was found on Friday, three others on Saturday and three others on Sunday. Ten people were injured, one of them seriously.
Search teams patrolled dogs as helicopters and drones equipped with cameras flew to detect heat over the shattered hills of Ask, a village of 5,000 people hit by the worst landslide in Norway’s modern history. At least 1,000 people were evacuated.
A landslide early Wednesday cut its way through Ask, leaving a deep crater-like valley. Some buildings now hang at the edge of a canyon that grew 700 meters (2,300 feet) long and 300 meters (1,000 feet) wide. At least nine buildings containing more than 30 apartments were destroyed.
«This is so horrific,» said King Harald V after the Norwegian royal family visited the landslide site on Sunday.
The limited number of daylight hours in Norway at this time of year and fears of further erosion hampered rescue operations. The site’s ground is fragile and unable to bear the weight of heavy rescue equipment.
The exact cause of the accident is not known yet but the area is known to have a lot of rapid mud, a substance that can change from a solid state to a liquid state. Experts said the rapid mud, coupled with heavy rainfall and wet winter weather, may have contributed to the landslide.
In 2005, the Norwegian authorities warned people against building residential buildings in the area, saying it was a «high risk area» for landslides, but that houses were eventually built there later in the decade.
The VG newspaper reported that the largest landslide in Norway occurred in 1893 in Verdal, north of Trondheim in central Norway, killing 116 people. It was reported to be about 40 times larger than that at Ask as between 1.4 million and 2 million cubic meters of earth collapsed.