Oslo – It was the penultimate night of the year – and it ended in a disaster for many people in Norway. Suddenly the earth tore open! At least seven people lost their lives.
After the landslide in Gjerdrum, northeast of Oslo, several people are still missing.
These are the victims of the Norway drama
So far, the police have published the names of two of the recovered dead: One of them is Eirik Grønolen († 31).
He was a friend of the Norwegian world-class tennis professional Casper Ruud (22). “I’ve lost a friend, colleague and an important colleague on my team,” wrote Ruud on Instagram.
The resident Ann-Mari Olsen-Næristorp († 50) also lost her life.
Ann-Mari’s daughter Victoria (13) was recently still missing. Her husband Odd Steiner was able to escape from the family home, but was injured and was taken to a hospital.
The husband says:
Victoria was sick, so my wife slept in her room. My wife came into the bedroom and said we had to get out of the house. I thought it was on fire. I ran down the stairs behind them. They were already outside when the house collapsed above me. I made it out, but everything wavered. Strangely, I felt like I was standing on the roof of the house. I thought my wife and daughter would be safe.
► Irene Ruud Gundersen (69) and Rasa Lasinskiene (49) were also missing recently. Rasa had to work the morning shift on December 30th. So she was out with her dog at 4 a.m. She was on the phone with her husband when the accident happened …
Gjerdrum has only 6890 inhabitants. The earth tore up south of the town center. The hole is around 300 meters wide and 700 meters long. All the houses that once stood there fell when the earth suddenly opened and sagged around 4 a.m. Around 30 houses were destroyed.
Pregnant Charlot and her family among the victims
An entire family was probably wiped out as well. Because also Charlot Grymyr Jansen (31), her husband Bjørn-Ivar Grymyr Jansen (40) and the two-year-old daughter Alma were still missing. Charlot was pregnant. The second child was due to be born in February.
Marius Brustad (29) and his mother Lisbeth Neraas (54) were also missing. Marius was visiting her.
Rescue teams have been searching since Wednesday morning in the ruins and the collapsed houses, some of which were swept away up to 400 meters. The work is very difficult due to the darkness and the underground.
“Everyone screamed and everyone ran up the mountain”
Four young men were lucky in misfortune. Bendik Anders (19) and his buddies wanted to bring a friend home on the unlucky night.
“Because of the weather, we drove very slowly when Felix had to go home. Suddenly the path in front of us sloped and then it disappeared. We didn’t even understand what happened. But then we checked it out. ”
The four jumped out of the car and ran – as fast as they could – in the opposite direction. The next day they could see from photos that they had stopped the car just three feet from the sagging earth.
During their escape from the abyss, Bendik and his friends witnessed how residents ran out of their houses screaming and desperate: “They weren’t wearing anything and ran as fast as they could. Everyone screamed and everyone ran up the mountain. “
Royal family visited the scene of the accident
The Norwegian royal family also showed their sympathy. King Harald V (83), Queen Sonja (83) and Crown Prince Haakon (47) traveled to Gjerdrum municipality on Sunday to meet representatives of the community, emergency services and those affected.
In the commune church they lit candles in memory of the victims. “That is absolutely terrible,” said King Harald V of the accident. “It’s very hard to put into words.”
“Quickton” as the cause?
Around 1,000 residents were evacuated immediately after the landslide. The cause of the Norway drama was still not clear on Sunday – three days after the disaster. However, we know that there is “Quickton” in this area, a geological feature that is also known in Canada and Russia.
“Quickton” is unstable earth, near the coast the phenomenon is known as Quicksand. However, it is not yet clear whether residential houses were built on unstable ground in Gjerdrum.
The earth opened suddenly and without warning – the first reports were received by the police at 3:59 am on Wednesday night. At first almost 30 people were considered missing. Fortunately, you could find many. They had spent the holidays and the time between the years with relatives or friends.
When Mayor Anders Östensen spoke about the situation on TV, he broke down crying. “It’s so hard,” he said. “We feel that we all know each other. It’s a very difficult time for such a small community. “