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Norwegian officials say there is no hope of finding any more landslide survivors

Rescue workers stand on and around home debris and snow at the scene of a deadly landslide.
Rescue work continues Tuesday at the scene of a landslide in Ask, Norway, that killed at least seven people.
(Terje Pedersen / NTB)

Norwegian authorities said Tuesday that they “no longer hope to find survivors” of a landslide that swept away homes in a residential area almost a week ago, killing seven people.

Three people are still missing from the Wednesday disaster that destroyed at least nine buildings with more than 30 apartments in the village of Ask, 16 miles northeast of Oslo. The landslide was among the worst in modern Norwegian history.

“It is with great sadness that I must say that we no longer have any hope of finding people alive after the landslide,” said Ida Melbo Oeystese, the local police chief.

“We have done everything in our power. But this natural disaster had significant forces. Those who died have died relatively quickly,” she added, visibly moved.

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Search crews will continue “working to find everyone who is missing,” Oeystese said.

She spoke hours after a small dog was found alive in the rubble, which had raised rescuers’ hopes. The dog was found late Monday in good condition in an area where rescuers had been working, police spokesman Ivar Myrboe said.

Just before midday Tuesday, a smaller landslide forced rescuers to evacuate the site in the village. No one was injured, police said. Rescuer Kenneth Wangen said the small landslide was “not dramatic,” adding that they were warned by drones and other rescuers. They said they would wait for an assessment from geologists before continuing their search.

Search teams with dogs have been looking through the rubble in subzero temperatures while helicopters and drones with heat-detecting cameras flew over the ravaged hillside.

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At least 1,000 people were evacuated. Some buildings are now hanging on the edge of a deep ravine.

The exact cause of the landslide isn’t yet known, but the area has a lot of quick clay, which can change from solid to liquid form. Experts said the quick clay, combined with excessive precipitation and damp winter weather, may have contributed to the landslide.


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