– I saw a wall of snow

– I saw a wall of snow
– I saw a wall of snow
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A previous experience made Leif Erik Hagen (69) drive extra carefully when his car was taken by an avalanche on Friday morning.

The avalanche is described as approximately seven meters high and 30 meters wide. Photo: Leif Erik Hagen

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  • Maria Anna Beatrice Christiansen

Published: 02/02/2024 13:11 | Updated: 02/02/2024 13:58

The short version

  • Leif Erik Hagen (69) drove into a 30 meter wide avalanche on his way to work between Balestrand and Dragsvik. He got out of the car and is unharmed.

The summary is created with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and quality assured by Aftenposten’s journalists.

Short version is for subscribers only

BERGENS TIDENDE: – I’m fine, I’m not injured, Hagen told BT at 11am.

On Friday morning there was a 30 meter wide avalanche across county road 55 between Balestrand and Dragsvik.

The avalanche occurred at Kjenes in the heart of the Esefjord, writes Bergens Tidende.

– We are in the process of ending the search at the site. We have concluded that no more cars have been taken, said rescue manager Jan Øyvind Rekeland at the main rescue center at 12.00.

The police received a report at 09.45 from the Swedish Road Traffic Center that one car had driven into the landslide.

– The driver must have got out of the car and is now safe, said operations manager Dan Erik Johannessen in the West police district.

– The avalanche is described as approximately seven meters high and 30 meters wide, the police said.

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Crashed – and filmed afterwards

So it was Leif Erik Hagen who drove into the slide.

– I suddenly saw a wall of snow, says Hagen.

He was on his way to work in Balestrand.

– I drove calmly, a maximum of 50 km/h, he says.

The low speed is not only due to the difficult weather conditions with snow drifts, but also to a previous horror experience.

– I always slow down in the turn there. It’s because I once met a car that took the inside bend there, says Hagen.

He himself filmed his car stuck in the slide, before he got to safety.

He did not even see other cars that drove into the landslide. The first vehicle that came behind him was a bus.

– I got to safety and got to sit on the bus, which had to turn around due to the slide. I’m home now. I’m perfectly fine, but I miss the coffee left in the thermos in the car, says Hagen and laughs.

Although he seems quite unaffected by the incident, Hagen realizes that it is about margins.

– Minutes earlier I met the plow coming in the opposite direction. So there are small margins, says Hagen.

He says he is physically unharmed. As for the car, he is a little more unsure.

– But the airbag did not deploy. It was a relatively soft meeting with the snow, says Hagen.

Deployed rescue helicopter

The police have no information that more cars were taken from the landslide, but the extent was such that they could not be sure.

– The main rescue center has sent a helicopter in the direction of the landslide, and the police have alerted actors with special expertise in avalanches, says Johannessen.

Rescue manager Jan Øyvind Rekeland at the main rescue center told BT at 11.15 that both a rescue helicopter from Florø and the rescue boat “Uni Sognefjord” have arrived at the crash site.

– It is currently unclear whether more cars were taken from the landslide, which is why we are deploying large resources, says Rekeland.

Duty commander Stian Kvam at the 110 central says that the fire service has now withdrawn a little, but remains on the scene as a contingency.

– The police are now out in a boat observing the landslide from the sea side, Kvam tells BT at 11.30am.

- I'm perfectly fine, but I miss the coffee left in the thermos in the car, says Leif Erik Hagen.

– I’m perfectly fine, but I miss the coffee left in the thermos in the car, says Leif Erik Hagen. Photo: Leif Erik Hagen

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– Poor visibility

– We have no information that more people have been taken by the landslide, but the extent of the landslide is such that there is uncertainty associated with it. We have not received any signals, but are working on the intelligence trail, said the police operations manager at 11.20am.

– Who is working on site now?

– The rescue helicopter is in place, but visibility is so poor that it is uncertain whether they can fly. We also have avalanche experts from the Red Cross on site. The avalanche goes all the way from the mountainside out into the fjord.

As a result of the landslide, a crisis route has been created for the ferry connection Vangsnes-Hella-Dragsvik, where the ferry passes through both Dragsvik and Balestrand.

The article is in Norwegian

Tags: wall snow

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