Men left hanging over Nordfjorden

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Two men who’d been carrying out repair work on power lines high over the Nordfjord in western Norway remained stuck in their small basket Tuesday morning, after the technical system used to move it back along the lines broke down. Attempts to rescue the stranded workers by helicopter have so far failed.

The men were forced to spend the night in the cramped basket that’s stuck several hundred meters over the Nordfjord in the county of Sogn og Fjordane. The weather was worsening on Tuesday and the situation was turning dramatic.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that a rescue helicopter from the 330th squadron at Florø flew over the power lines Tuesday morning and lowered a crew member down between the power lines, so he was hanging directly over the two men trapped in the basket. There was a lot of wind and rain, however, and the rescue operation had to be aborted.

For photos of the rescue attempt and the stranded basket, see NRK’s coverage here (external link, in Norwegian).

Another rescue attempt by helicopter was underway late in the morning but it was unclear whether it would work because of dangerous conditions. NRK reported that a parallel plan was under consideration that would involve trying to lower the men out of the basket down to a waiting boat.

It involves use of an alpine rescue crew (Sunnmøre Alpine redningsgruppe) that would venture out to the men along the power lines in another basket.

“We have called in the alpine group that can get to the men in a new basket, and then lower them down to a waiting boat on the fjord,” rescue leader Johan Mannsåker told news bureau NTB. “It will take more time, but it’s safer.”

The two men work for local utility firm Sogn og Fjordane Energi (SFE). The power line they were working on runs between Stavenes and Agjeld in Nordfjord. A technical problem meant that the basket couldn’t be rolled back to their starting point Monday night.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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