“There would have been use for us for many more weeks,” Ove Syslak, who lead the 34-strong team from Norwegian Search and Rescue (Norsar) said as the team arrived back at Oslo’s Gardermoen airport on Thursday. “In the mountains of Nepal, there’s more than enough to do.”
The rescue team left Oslo ten days ago, but only arrived in Kathmandu 8 days ago, after spending nearly two days stuck in Baku, Azerbaijan, waiting for a landing space in the Nepali capital.
They then spent a day on the return trip, meaning they had less than a week to carry out rescue work.
“It is frustrating,” Roar Tvedt, from Norwegian rescue dogs, said of the delays. “We also could have taken off earlier from Norway.”
“When you see how much help they need down there, you really wish that you could go back again,” he said.
The 35 Norwegian rescuers were greeted at the airport by Foreign Minister Børge Brende (H), his colleagues and family.
“You're going home with very strong experiences. I am very proud of the work you have done,” Brende said. “We are one of the largest donors in the relief phase. Going forward, it is important to provide people with a place to stay and make temporary housing.”
The Norsar team played a prominent role in one of the rescue of a 24-year-old woman from the rubble, an event which received media coverage around the world.
Carl Christensen, a health worker with the Norwegian team, said it took four to five hours before the rescue team felt the first signs of life. As the youngest of the team, Christensen was sent into the hole to pull the woman out.
“I was not scared but very excited. I got hold of her hand and made contact,” he said.