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ELK

Motorist hits bear after avoiding elk

A motorist breathed a brief sigh of relief on Wednesday night after swerving to avoid an elk, only to instead collide with a bear moments later on a road in eastern Norway.

Motorist hits bear after avoiding elk
A file image of a brown bear (Photo: Darko Skender)

Hunters were deployed on Thursday morning to search for the animal, which disappeared into the woods after sustaining injuries in the crash.

Driver Lene Tørudstad said she, her husband and their two children were somewhat rattled immediately after their encounter with the elk. Then the bear appeared.

"Suddenly he was on the road. I braked as hard as I could but we hit the bear," she told broadcaster NRK.

"I'm still shaky. I slept barely two hours last night. It's one thing to crash into an elk or a cat, but a bear… that's not something I ever would have believed."

Police said it was rare for a driver to come face to face with a bear, even in Hedmark county where around 40 of Norway’s estimated 150 bears are thought to live.

The accident happened shortly after midnight on the stretch of national road 3 between Atna and Hanestad.

“The driver first came close to colliding with an elk, then along came a bear,” police investigator Egil Solberg told TV 2.

The car was damaged in the crash, while the bear took fright and ran away.

“The bear took a real hit. The front light on the car was smashed and there was quite a bit of damage to the body [of the vehicle],” police spokesman Trond Langeland Sulen told newspaper Østlendingen.

Municipal hunters headed out at 5am to search for the wounded animal. Egil Solberg fears the bear may be dangerous, but noted that there are not many people walking about in the area.

“It’s mostly traffic. Also, there’s a bear hunt underway in the area so there aren’t many people in the woods.”

Hunters said they found traces of the bear’s blood on Thursday morning but had not yet located the injured animal.

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OFFBEAT

Norwegian road authority in hot water for dumping rocks near UNESCO-listed fjord

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration will need to clear up more than 1,000 trucks worth of stones and rubble it left near the stunning UNESCO world heritage listed Nærøyfjord.

Norwegian road authority in hot water for dumping rocks near UNESCO-listed fjord
Nærøyfjorden near to where the Norwegian Public Roads Administration left behind more than 11,000 cubic metres of rocks. Photo by Arian Zwegers on Flickr.

Fly-tipping and rubbish dumping are typically associated with rogue tradespeople and cowboy builders, but it’s the Norwegian Public Roads Administration that is being asked to clear some 11,250 cubic metres of rocks it left near a UNESCO listed beauty spot.

The breathtaking Nærøyfjord in Aurland municipality, south-western Norway, is a landscape conservation area meaning its protected and, therefore, the rubble shouldn’t have been left there.

“This is a blister. We will clean up after ourselves,” Stig Berg Thomassen, project manager for the road authority, told NRK.

The rocks were left behind following a project to upgrade the nearby Gudvanga tunnel.

Thomassen said the mess was left in the conservation area because it wasn’t clearly marked as off-limits.

Nærøyfjorden has been listed as a landscape conservation area since 2002, and the site was added to the UNESCO world heritage list a few years later in 2005.

READ ALSO: You can now get married at this famous Norwegian beauty spot

The municipality in Aurland has given the road authority until December 17th to clear the mess. The mayor for the municipality said the road authority would begin to clear up the remnants of its building project as soon as possible.

The stones won’t be going far, though and will only be moved around 50 to 100 metres along the road to where the conservation area ends.

Project manager Thomassen has admitted that the situation could have been avoided with better planning.

“Yes, we should have probably have done that (prepared better). The situation is as it is, so we just have to clean up. It won’t take long to move the rocks. The Stones will only be transported 50 to 100 meters,” he confessed.

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