Sheep saved from cliff in dramatic chopper rescue

Sheep saved from cliff in dramatic chopper rescue
Six sheep were hoisted to safety by helicopter on Sunday, after weeks spent stranded on a steep mountain cliff edge.

The farmer, who had spent considerable sums to save his forlorn livestock, were extremely grateful.

"I'm very impressed with the effort made," Vik district sheep farmer Oddbjørn Ese told broadcaster NRK.

The sheep had been caught up amongst the crags for weeks and would likely have succumbed to the elements or eventually weakened and fallen had not an expert glacier rescue team been hired in. One sheep was however badly injured in the rescue and had to be shot.

The sheep had maintained an altitude of about 1,000 metres while up on the rock face, and alpine experts had told people not to attempt a rescue alone.

Two climbers in the specialist team had to bolt themselves to the mountain while they bound the animals' feet and threw them into the net that eventually hoisted them out of danger.

Three other sheep caught on a ledge not far from the Vik sheep were not so lucky. They were shot when helicopter rescue was deemed impossible due to the sheer mountain face.

More than one farmer is understood to have paid a combined bill of "tens of thousands of kroner" to get the animals down.

"One has to do what one can so the animals don't suffer," Ese said.

While a playground to more sheep than people, Norway's mountain terrain also attracts large numbers of base jumpers, hang gliders and para-gliders. Most years, someone has to be rescued by helicopter.

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