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OSLO

UPDATED: Seventh body found in Norway mudslide, three still missing

Rescue workers have uncovered a seventh body from a landslide that buried homes in a village near Norway's capital, police said Sunday, with a two-year-old girl and her father among the dead.

The tragedy occurred early on Wednesday when houses were destroyed and  shifted hundreds of metres under a torrent of mud in the village of Ask, 25 kilometres northeast of Oslo.

Police spokesman Bjorn Christian Willersrud told journalists they hoped to find more survivors in the landslide zone. “It is still a rescue operation until we decide otherwise,” he said.

Earlier Sunday, the head of the rescue operation, Goran Syversen, told reporters: “We are working hard in the depression created by the landslide.

“We have five teams working at the same time. They are doing very difficult work which is not without risk. Nevertheless, we are making good progress.”

Police said the latest body was found near where two others had been recovered, but gave no further details. The teams, backed up by sniffer dogs, helicopters and drones, have now found three bodies on Sunday, one on Saturday and three on Friday.

Local residents left candles near the site of the tragedy.

Five of the recovered victims have been identified, including a woman in her fifties and her 29-year-old son, and a 40-year-old man and his two-year-old daughter.

The first victim to be recovered, on January 1st, was a 31-year-old man. Earlier police published the names of all 10 people, including the two-year-old and a 13-year-old, who went missing on Wednesday.

Ten people were also injured in the landslide, including one seriously who was transferred to Oslo for treatment.

About 1,000 people of the town’s population of 5,000 have been evacuated, because of fears for the safety of their homes as the land continues to move.

“It is a completely surreal and terrible situation,” one of the evacuees, Olav Gjerdingen, told AFP.

The rescuers received a visit Sunday from King Harald, his wife Sonja and Crown Prince Haakon, who lit candles for the victims in a local church.

“I’m having trouble finding something to say, because it’s absolutely horrible,” the king said after the visit.

“This terrible event impacts us all. I sympathise with you who are beginning the new year with sadness and uncertainty,” he said in a televised statement.

The authorities have banned all aircraft from the disaster area until 3pm Monday as they conduct aerial searches.

The teams, who are also seeking to rescue family pets, were digging channels in the ground to evacuate casualties.

The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) said the disaster was a “quick clay slide” of approximately 300 by 800 metres (yards).

Quick clay is a sort of clay found in Norway and Sweden that can collapse and turn to fluid when overstressed.

On the recommendations of the NVE, the authorities decided to narrow the evacuation, allowing some local people to return to their homes.                              

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OSLO

Have Oslo’s new electric scooter rules reduced accidents?

New rules were brought in to combat the sharp rise in accidents and injuries involving electric scooters in Oslo. But, one month later, have the new regulations done the job?  

Have new rules had an impact on the number of accidents involving scooters in Oslo. Pictured it two e-scooters parked outside a

New rules brought in to cut down on the number of e-scooter accidents in Norway’s capital appear to have had the desired effect as incidents were more halved in September, when the rules were introduced, compared to the month before. 

This is according to figures from Oslo University Hospital’s (OUS) emergency department that have been obtained by newspaper Aftenposten

The Emergency Medical Service in Oslo registered 143 injuries in connection with electric scooters in September. In August, the month before measures were brought in, there were 301 injuries.’

Compared to the peak of accidents in June, where 436 injuries were recorded, incidents are down by almost two-thirds. 

“We are very happy. This is what we hoped for,” Henrik Siverts, chief physician at OUS’s emergency department, told the newspaper Aftenposten

‘We feared it would happen’: Oslo sees first death of electric scooter rider

Among the new stricter rules introduced for rental scooters, which included significantly cutting the number of devices in the city, was a curfew that prevented people from using them between 11pm and 5am. 

Siverts said that the curfew had a dramatic effect in reducing accidents at night. 

“Unsurprisingly, accidents have gone down at night time. What injuries we do get at night are probably people who privately own their scooters. But accidents have also gone down during the day, too,” he explained.  

Just eight injuries were recorded in September at night, compared to just under 100 in August. 

Over the summer, a surge in accidents meant accident and emergency departments in Oslo were forced to have more staff on during weekends. Still, as a result of the reduction in scooter accidents, staffing has now returned to normal. 

Have your say

Have the new e-scooter rules in Oslo been effective? Let us know in the poll below. 

 

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