Teenagers swam for their lives in Norway carnage

NESLANDET, Norway Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:30am EDT

An aerial view shows people swimming in the water close to Utoeya island in this still image taken from video footage on July 22, 2011, after a shooting took place on the island at a meeting of the youth wing of Norway's ruling Labour Party. REUTERS/TV2 Norway via Reuters TV

An aerial view shows people swimming in the water close to Utoeya island in this still image taken from video footage on July 22, 2011, after a shooting took place on the island at a meeting of the youth wing of Norway's ruling Labour Party.

Credit: Reuters/TV2 Norway via Reuters TV

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NESLANDET, Norway (Reuters) - Norwegian teenagers at a lakeside summer camp fled screaming in panic, many leaping into the water to save themselves, when an attacker dressed as a policeman began spraying them with gunfire.

Police said at least 10 of the youngsters, attending a camp run by the governing Labour Party, were killed in Friday's attack, shortly after a blast in the capital Oslo killed seven people in Western Europe's worst bombing since 2005.

"I just saw people jumping into the water, about 50 people swimming toward the shore. People were crying, shaking, they were terrified," said Anita Lien, 42, who lives by Tyrifjord lake, a few hundred meters (yards) from Utoeya island, northwest of Oslo.

"They were so young, between 14 and 19 years old," she said.

Utoeya is an island about 500 meters long, clad with pine trees. Lien said the shooting sounded like automatic gunfire.

A camp guard, Simen Braenden Mortensen, said that the gunman had tricked his way onto the island by posing as a policeman driving a silver grey car.

"He gets out of the car and shows ID, says he's sent there to check security, that that is purely routine in connection with the terror attack (in Oslo)," Mortensen told the daily Verdens Gang.

"It all looks fine, and a boat is called and it carries him over to Utoeya. A few minutes passed, then we heard shots," he said.

A teenaged boy who witnessed the attack from the mainland told Britain's Sky Television: "We heard people screaming, it was horrible...Some were waving at us from the island."

Police said they had found undetonated explosives on the island. They said the gunman, whom they described as ethnic Norwegian, may also have been involved in planting the bomb in Oslo.

Early on Saturday, an ambulance left the lake area, with a body lying on a stretcher inside. Cars with distraught relatives were heading to a nearby hotel hoping to meet loved ones evacuated from the island.

Police and dogs were still searching the island and lake overnight from boats and helicopters, with ambulances on standby. Searchlights slowly swept the water in the dark.

People living by the lake got into boats to try to evacuate people from the water. "I used my boat to ferry a lot of people from the island, I saw many wounded people," said a local man who said he lived in a white house by the lake.

(Writing by Alister Doyle and Anna Ringstrom, Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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Comments (3)
jfc14 wrote:
What is this world coming to? Norway, I never realized that this Country would have terrorist. It has always been my belief that the Norwegians were tough when aroused but their people were peaceful until provoked. Hopefully this will not become another OLD Ireland or now days like the middle east. God bless the Country and let him allow the government to stop this kind of behavior.

Jul 22, 2011 10:16pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
beofaction wrote:
If the counselors or leaders at the camp were armed, maybe fewer people would have died. Certainly no more would have been killed. When we abdicate all responsibility for our own well being and safety to our governments, we become less free and less safe.

Jul 23, 2011 1:01am EDT  --  Report as abuse
John2244 wrote:
By extension – if the leaders of the camp were armed then we would assume by your argument that most of Norway would be armed. If that was the case you would have years of 1′s and 2′s lethal shootings every other day that would add up to 1000′s of people. These are the tradeoffs that their society has made. Norway actually has a healthy gun user community around hunters but they draw the line their.

I absolutely agree with you – it would be hard to kill 80 people even in a anti-gun place like New York before you ran into someone who was armed to match you. It would prevent it. But then again, in the US the numbers of gun fatalities from accidents, domestic problems and heated arguments far outnumbers those people that are killed. Its still safer in Norway.

Jul 23, 2011 1:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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