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Norwegian landslide prompted Europe’s largest drone operation: 200 hours in the air

The recent Norwegian landslide prompted Europe’s largest drone operation to date, with around 200 hours of flight time being recorded. Over 420 drone missions took place, rescuing 13 people from collapsed and damaged houses.

After the devastating landslide in Norway, drones were in the skies looking for survivors among the rubble in the village of Ask. The landslide hit Ask on the last day of 2020 at around 4 a.m., with a width of 300 yards and length of 200 feet.

The landslide resulted in hundreds of personal, helicopters, a Lockheed P-3 Orion surveillance drone, search dogs, ambulances, and drones joining the search to find as many people as possible.

Drone pilot Kenny Åserud shared:

My wife is a nurse, and she got at catastrophe call-in at the same time as I was called in. I understood that something serious had happened. When we arrived, the situation was complex and difficult to grasp. But when we got our first drone up, we started to understand the scope of the catastrophe.

The drones were equipped with thermal cameras to pick up people’s heat signals and any other animals stuck in the rubble. The recently launched DJI Matrice 300 RTK and the Zenmuse H20T sensor payload was used in operation. The H20T allows for up to 32x optical zoom and up to 200x digital zoom.

The H20T also has a radiometric thermal camera with a resolution of 640×512 to detect heat signals down to a single pixel in size. It also has a laser range finder used to figure out how far those stuck in the rubble were.

The drones were used to provide surveillance to helicopters rescuing people. The drones would locate and keep watch over a person until a helicopter could reach and save them. This resulted in the drones completing more than 420 flights adding to about 200 hours in the air.

Photo: Anders Martinsen



Avatar for Josh Spires Josh Spires

Josh started in the drone community in 2012 with a drone news Twitter account. Over the years Josh has gained mass exposure from his aerial photography work and spends his days writing drone content for DroneDJ as well as pursuing his business.