At least 10 people were injured and 10 people were missing Wednesday after a landslide in a village about 30 miles northeast of Oslo that Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway said was one of the worst in the country’s history.
More than 900 people were evacuated from the village of Ask and at least five were hospitalized, including one with severe injuries, police said. Rescuers were limited in how close they could get to the scene because the ground was still moving as of Wednesday night.
The landslide swallowed several homes, and “extensive rescue work is underway on site,” police said in a statement. Helicopters and drones were being used to search the area, and it remained possible that some of the evacuated homes near the edge of the landslide could still fall in.
Police said that 10 people were unaccounted for as of Wednesday night and that it seemed likely that some of them had been in the area devastated by the landslide. The cause of the landslide was not immediately clear.
Solberg, who was at the scene, said on Twitter Wednesday, “It hurts to see how the forces of nature have ravaged Gjerdrum,” the area that includes Ask. “My thoughts go to all those affected by the landslide. Now it is important that the emergency services get their job done.”
King Harald V also thanked emergency responders in a statement. “My thoughts are with all of those who have been affected, injured, or who have lost their homes and now live in fear and uncertainty about the full extent of the disaster,” he said.
Kristin Helleso-Knutsen told the nation’s public broadcaster, NRK, that she, her teenage son and her dog woke at 4 a.m. local time and saw that their yard had disappeared into a hole.
“This was our home!” she said. “We have lost everything we own.”
Norway’s military was assisting with the rescue operation, according to police. Norwegian People’s Aid, a humanitarian organization, said it had sent nine ambulances and 40 crew members. And dozens of volunteers with the Norwegian Red Cross provided vehicles, including 20 ambulances, and helped with the evacuations.
Geir Fjellheim, manager of Quality Hotel Olavsgaard, said that about 300 people who had been evacuated from Ask were staying at the hotel. He said he had been told by police not to provide further details.
Landslides in Norway are relatively rare, but in June, a landslide in the northern part of the country swept at least eight buildings into the sea, causing significant damage but no injuries.