Rescuers in Norway find fifth body as search continues for survivors


Rescue workers have uncovered a sixth body four days after a landslide buried homes near Norway’s capital, police said Sunday, as the search goes on for four people still missing.

The body was recovered just before 1pm, a police statement said. Rescue teams still hope to find survivors four days after the tragedy occurred. 

The landslide happened in the early hours of Wednesday morning when houses were destroyed and shifted hundreds of metres under a torrent of mud at the village of Ask, 15 miles northeast of Oslo.

A damaged house is seen at a landslide area in Ask, Gjerdrum county, on January 1, 2021, a few days after a landslide in a small Norwegian town north of Oslo

The head of the rescue operation, Goran Syversen, said on Sunday: ‘We are working hard in the depression created by the landslide.

‘We have five teams working at the same time. They are doing very difficult work which is not without risk. Nevertheless, we are making good progress.’

The rescuers received a visit Sunday from King Harald, his wife Sonja and Crown Prince Haakon, who lit candles for the victims in a local church.

‘I’m having trouble finding something to say, because it’s absolutely horrible,’ the king said after the visit.

‘This terrible event impacts us all. I sympathise with you who are beginning the new year with sadness and uncertainty,’ he said in a televised statement.

The authorities have banned all aircraft from the disaster area until 3pm Monday as they conduct aerial searches. 

Candles are placed on the snow in Gjerdrum on January 1, in tribute to the victims of a landslide in Ask

Candles are placed on the snow in Gjerdrum on January 1, in tribute to the victims of a landslide in Ask

Rescue crews gather inside a building in Ask in Gjerdrum,on January 2, following a landslide in the town some 40 km northeast of the capital Oslo

Rescue crews gather inside a building in Ask in Gjerdrum,on January 2, following a landslide in the town some 40 km northeast of the capital Oslo

The discovery of a fourth body had been made Saturday after three were recovered the day before at the bleak, snow-covered scene at Ask, in Gjerdrum municipality.

Police on Saturday identified the body of the first person found on Friday as 31-year-old Eirik Grønolen.

The identities of the four other dead have not been released.

But police on Friday published a list of the names of all the eight adults, a two-year-old and a 13-year-old child who went missing on Wednesday.

A rescue helicopter hovers over a landslide area in Ask, Gjerdrum county, on December 31, one day after the landslide

A rescue helicopter hovers over a landslide area in Ask, Gjerdrum county, on December 31, one day after the landslide 

Emergency services near the site of a landslide in Ask, northeast of Oslo, Thursday, December 31. A landslide smashed into a residential area near the Norwegian capital Wednesday

Emergency services near the site of a landslide in Ask, northeast of Oslo, Thursday, December 31. A landslide smashed into a residential area near the Norwegian capital Wednesday

A helicopter of the police is seen next to a destroyed house in a crater left behind by a landslide in the town of Ask

A helicopter of the police is seen next to a destroyed house in a crater left behind by a landslide in the town of Ask

Ten people were also injured in the landslide, including one seriously who was transferred to Oslo for treatment.

About a thousand people have been evacuated out of a local population of 5,000, because of fears for the safety of their homes as the land continues to move.

Search and rescue teams have been using sniffer dogs, helicopters and drones in a bid to find survivors.

The search teams were also digging channels in the ground to evacuate casualties.

Destroyed houses are seen in a crater left behind by a landslide in the town of Ask, Gjerdrum county, some 40 km northeast of the capital Oslo, on December 31

Destroyed houses are seen in a crater left behind by a landslide in the town of Ask, Gjerdrum county, some 40 km northeast of the capital Oslo, on December 31

A rescue helicopter files near the site of a landslide in Ask on Thursday. A landslide smashed into a residential area near the Norwegian capital Wednesday

A rescue helicopter files near the site of a landslide in Ask on Thursday. A landslide smashed into a residential area near the Norwegian capital Wednesday

A mobile bridge from the Norwegian Armed Forces is seen as it is prepared for use in the rescue works in the crater of a landslide in the town of Ask on January 1

A mobile bridge from the Norwegian Armed Forces is seen as it is prepared for use in the rescue works in the crater of a landslide in the town of Ask on January 1

Experts say the disaster was a ‘quick clay slide’ of approximately 300 by 800 metres.

Quick clay is found in Norway and Sweden and notorious for collapsing after turning to fluid when overstressed.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg described it as one of the biggest landslides the country had ever experienced.

The royal court said in a statement that King Harald, his wife Sonja and Crown Prince Haakon were to visit the disaster area later Sunday morning.

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