A trailer has caught fire while passing through a tunnel in western Norway, causing the hospitalization of dozens of people, authorities have announced.
According to the ‘NRK’ chain, about 75 people have been rescued from the Gudvangen tunnel, the second longest in the whole country at 11.4 kilometers long. At least 73 of them have been hospitalized for inhaling smoke. At the moment no fatalities have been found.
“In total, 75 people have been evacuated from the tunnel and 73 of them have been hospitalized with symptoms of poisoning due to smoke inhalation,” said the head of the police, Joern Lasse Refnes.
“We have begun a thorough inspection of the tunnel without finding trapped people and at the moment no one is missing. In principle, all the people who were inside are outside,” he added.
The condition of the hospitalized people, of which two have had to be transported by helicopter, is unknown.
“It has been a great luck that no one has lost their lives,” a firefighter official, Arvid Gilje, told ‘NRK’.
“It seems that everything will soon return to normal,” said Lasse Refnes. “We will start to get the situation under control,” he reported on ‘TV2 Nyhetskanalen’ television.
Television images show a dense screen of smoke coming from the tunnel mouth, while a photograph taken by a witness at the scene shows the cab of a tractor-trailer burned down.
“The flames rose to the roof of the tunnel and we could see the silhouette of the truck,” Walter Joern Scholz, a witness, told the Verdens Gang (VG) newspaper. “We saw people rushing to the accident scene with fire extinguishers, the situation seemed very chaotic,” he continued.
The police have indicated that the fire started, for reasons not yet determined, at kilometer 3.5, west of the tunnel entrance.