Couple braved gunfire to rescue 40 in water at Utoya


Tony Paterson
Tuesday 08 November 2011 16:53

A married couple are being hailed as the heroines of Norway's Utoya island massacre after it emerged that they rescued 40 youngsters from chilly fjord waters as their boat was sprayed by Anders Breivik's bullets.

Norwegians Hege Dalen and Toril Hansen were among dozens of campers spending the summer at the Utviken campsite overlooking Utoya island when Mr Breivik arrived on the afternoon of 22 July and began shooting dead Norwegian Labour Party youth members who were attending a summer camp.

Ms Dalen recalled how the couple were sitting enjoying a meal when they were suddenly interrupted by alarming noises from across the water.

"We were eating, then came sounds of shooting and then the awful screaming," she told Finland's Helsingin Sanomat newspaper. "We saw how the young people ran in panic into the lake."

The two women ran to the campsite's jetty where a dozen or so boats were moored. They were among several other campers who took their boats to a patch of water in front of Utoya island, where terrified youngsters were trying to swim away from Mr Breivik's gunfire.

Ms Dalen and Ms Hansen pulled the young swimmers aboard and ferried them back to the campsite. There were so many in the water that they made four sorties. Between runs they were shocked to notice that the side of their boat had been struck by Mr Breivik's bullets. The Utviken campers pulled a total of 150 young people from the fjord. Yesterday it emerged that Mr Breivik, who surrendered to police after carrying out the Oslo bomb attack and island shootings that claimed 77 lives, had made a series of bizarre demands.

The 32-year-old was said to have demanded that the Norwegian monarchy abdicate and that he be installed as head of the armed forces. He also requested that Japanese psychiatrists assess his mental state because he was convinced that they had a superior "sense of honour".

Psychiatrists are assessing Mr Breivik but Norway's chief forensic expert said it was unlikely that he would be declared insane as his conduct during the attacks indicated that he was fully in control of his actions.

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