Second dead person found at Gjerdrum landslide site

Gjerdrum landslidePhoto: Tor Erik Schrøder / NTB

Another dead person was found in the landslide area in Gjerdrum on Saturday. However, the rescue crews are still working on finding survivors.

“A person has been found. Unfortunately, the person has been confirmed dead,” police task force leader Roy Alkvist said at an urgent press conference just before 2:00 PM on Saturday.

The find was made less than 100 meters into the landslide area.

A total of two dead people have thus been found in the landslide area. Eight people are still not accounted for.

Air pockets

Search crews say they still have hope of finding survivors in air pockets.

“Medically, you can survive for several days if you have air. So to the extent that you have air pockets, it is possible to survive,” police chief Ida Melbo Øystese in the Eastern Police District said at a press conference in Gjerdrum at noon on Saturday.

It has been cold, and it has snowed for periods in Gjerdrum since the landslide occurred on Wednesday. These conditions can affect the likelihood of survival.

“The forces of nature are not on our side. And time is not on our side either,” Øystese said.

Hoping for air pockets in houses

Landslides have a liquid mass where there are usually not many air pockets. 

Police Chief Øystese is nevertheless aware that there may be air pockets in some of the houses that have been swept up by the landslide and that are still partially intact.

“This is what we are working on now,” Øystese said.

It is her task to make the decision on when the search will no longer be about finding survivors of the landslide.

“But we are not there now,” the police chief said.

On January 1, the police published the names of all the missing people after the landslide in Gjerdrum municipality.

Three USAR teams still in the landslide area

Three so-called USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) teams worked in the landslide area in Gjerdrum on Saturday to search for the missing people. 

“The rescue operation is in full swing. As of now, three different USAR teams are working inside the landslide area, as well as dog teams. These are USAR teams from Trøndelag, Oslo, and Nedre Romerike and dog teams from the Oslo Police District,” Alkvist said at the press conference at 12 o’clock.

Earlier on Saturday, it became clear that the Swedish USAR team that has been active in Gjerdrum is traveling back to Sweden after the Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning announced that they have sufficient resources.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today


1 Comment on "Second dead person found at Gjerdrum landslide site"

  1. Saddening. Hopefully, there are still some survivors in air pockets. At least all people will eventually be accounted for.

    Back in Alaska there were of course mud slides, (rock) landslides, and snow avalanches. The U.S. Geological Survey has maps warning people of hazardous areas. I assume Norway’s equivalent agency does too.

    In Juneau, we had noticeable – 5.0 – quakes, and seeing the book shelves swaying was memorable. The State Library was in the State Office Building. Half of it was built on a solid rock ridge running down to the sea in Juneau. The other half of it was built over geologically questionable landfill. When a quake started, everyone was supposed to get to the solid rock wing of the Library … fast.

    In 1964 Anchorage had its 9.2 Good Friday Earthquake. Especially hard hit was the Turnagain neighborhood with many if not most homes having families – children.

    I remember reading or hearing about one young mother who was watching her two little kids playing in the tree in the back yard, whereupon the quake hit and a huge, bottomless fissure opened up … and she watched the tree and her children fall away down into it, never to be found.

    I have the fictional Oslo earthquake feature film. I know Norway is supposed to be geophysically stable, in comparison to Alaska and Iceland, but I think I’ll put off watching it for a few more months now.

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