A freak landslide in Norway has swept at least eight buildings into the sea, creating substantial damage, prompting a dog rescue, but causing no injuries.
The buildings, mostly cabins used as holiday homes, were pushed into the sea Wednesday in the slide of quick clay in the Alta municipality in northern Norway — a rare event in the country that was caught on video.
The landslide, which ran 2,133 feet along the shore and went nearly 500 feet inland, was the largest the area has ever seen, according to Anders Bjordal, a Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate senior engineer who was involved in the rescue operation.
“In this municipality, a landslide has not happened in 50 or 60 years, and there has never been one this size,” Bjordal said Friday.
Jan Egil Bakkeby, who owned one of the cabins, scrambled out of the building when he heard the landslide begin.
“I had just made two slices of bread when I heard it crack in the cabin,” he told the Norwegian newspaper Altaposten. “At first I thought there was someone in the loft, but then I saw out of the window that the power cord was smoking.”
As he moved to higher ground, he filmed the scene as a swath of land under his and others’ properties inched into the water and was soon submerged.
The cause of the slide was not immediately clear, but Bjordal said it was unlikely to have been caused by human activity.
Rescue operations quickly began, with the local police force, fire and ambulance services, helicopter rescue, the Red Cross and the Coast Guard all involved.
Bakkeby and one other person who was in the area had a close brush with danger, officials said, but they ultimately emerged safely.
Only one rescue took place: A dog was swept away when the land began to slip, and the animal was carried out to sea, officials said. The dog was able to swim ashore and was rescued by a helicopter that was checking the area for missing people.
The area has been closed to the public until authorities deem it safe, and the buildings will remain stuck until officials make plans to excavate them.