Norwegian rescuers hunt for 10 missing after landslide

A rescue helicopter flies over the landslide site in Ask, Norway early morning

Norwegian rescuers deployed drones and dogs to negotiate unstable clay soil in a search for 10 people still missing on Thursday after a landslide in southern Norway swept away more than a dozen buildings the previous day.

Ten people were injured, one critically, after the landslide in the residential area in the Gjerdrum region, about 30 km (19 miles) north of the capital, Oslo.

Conditions remained challenging, with the clay ground still too unstable for emergency workers to walk on, and temperatures registering -1 degree Celsius (30 degrees F) at 0600 GMT.

“This is still a rescue operation,” the head of the police operation at the site, Dag Andre Sylju, told broadcaster TV2. “We will continue as long as we think it is necessary.”

During the night, police used drones with heat-seeking equipment to find survivors in the debris. Helicopters have tried lowering military and police with search-and-rescue dogs on some structures believed stable enough to stand on.

A Dalmatian dog was rescued during the night.

Separately, questions were being asked about why construction was allowed in the area.

Broadcaster TV2 said a 2005 geological survey for municipal authorities labelled the area at high risk of landslides. But new homes were built three years after the report was published.

In a rare public statement, Norway’s King Harald said the landslide had left a deep impression.

“My thoughts are with all those who are affected, injured or have lost their homes, and those who now live in fear and uncertainty of the full extent of the catastrophe,” the 83-year-old monarch said in a statement released by the royal palace.

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