Three workers feared dead in mudslide

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UPDATED: Emergency crews were resuming their search efforts on Friday for three men who disappeared under hundreds of meters of mud and clay that slid down a hillside in Sørum, northeast of Oslo, late Thursday afternoon. Those missing were working on an excavation project tied to forestry work, and one of their tractors was missing as well.

Police told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that three others were working at the site on Asakveien, east of the E6 highway, when the slide occurred. They managed to escape while the others are believed to have been buried alive.

All available search and rescue crews were sent to the scene on Thursday, including helicopters with geologists on board who tried to determine the stability of the mud and clay that needed to be searched. It was initially deemed too dangerous to send either people or dogs in to search for the victims.

The slide area was also described as massive, estimated at 400 meters wide and 60 meters deep. Both a Sea King and ambulance helicopters circled over the area, looking for any sign of the missing men. The site is located between Knasten and Kløfta, in an area where slides have occurred in the past but not since the 1980s.

On Friday morning, police were considering the use of drones and more helicopters in the hopes of finding what are expected to be the bodies of the three missing men. Similar efforts on Thursday, including use of special equipment used to detect any warmth under the mud, were unsuccessful.

The local community mounted a crisis team to aid those affected by the slide and those living nearby. Police reported there were some homes in the area, but only one was considered to be in a danger zone and evacuated.

Three hours after the slide, which occurred around 4pm, authorities determined they would likely be searching for bodies, not survivors. The three missing men were all workers from Lithuania, including a 43-year-old man from Kaunas and a 27-year-old man from Kedainiai. The third man was also Lithuanian, age 47, and their families have been alerted, reportedly with the help of staff from the Lithuanian Embassy in Oslo.

The search was called off later Thursday night, and resumed early Friday morning. An ongoing danger of more slides in the area continued to hinder search efforts, leading local mayor, Marianne Grimstad Hansen, to tell NRK that the situation remained unclear and difficult. staff