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Married lesbian couple rescues 40 kids during Norway shooting rampage

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A lesbian couple were among the first responders to assist victims following the shooting massacre in Norway on Friday, when gunman Anders Behring Breivik went on a shooting rampage at a youth camp on Utoya island.

Hege Dalen and Toril Hansen.
Photo: Maija Tammi via Helsingin Sanomat

Hege Dalen and her spouse Toril Hansen made four trips back and forth in their small boat, picking up injured, bloodied and scared young people.

The Finnish capital city’s largest daily newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, published this account (translated from Finnish):

Hege Dalen and her spouse, Toril Hansen were near Utöyan having dinner on the opposite shore across from the ill-fated campsite, when they began to hear gunfire and screaming on the island.

“We were eating. Then shooting and then the awful screaming. We saw how the young people ran in panic into the lake,” says Dale to HS in an interview.

The couple immediately took action and pushed the boat into Lake Tyrifjorden.

Dalen and Hansen drove the boat to the island, picked up from the water victims in shock in, the young and wounded, and transported them to the opposite shore to the mainland. Between runs they saw that the bullets had hit the right side of the boat.

Since there were so many and not all fit at once aboard, they returned to the island four times.

They were able to rescue 40 young people from the clutches of the killer.

“We did not sleep last night at all. Today, we have been together and talked about the events,” Dalen said.

Norway’s Television 2 verified the accuracy of the Finnish account by phone, adding that the couple’s actions have been publicly noted by the Norwegian government.

At least 76 people are confirmed dead in the attacks, which included detonating a bomb in Oslo.

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Filed under: Europe

28 more reader comments:

  1. Great representatives for all of us <3

    Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 6:11pm
  2. Very commendable.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 6:12pm
  3. This is how the human race is supposed to act! Way to go ladies! God bless all!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 6:16pm
  4. Heroes beyond description. Great to see.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 6:19pm
  5. Yeah….they are so going to hell…..Psh! This is just great!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 6:32pm
  6. I Suppose The Bachmans Would Find This Barbaric…Thank You Ladies For Your Selflessness…

    Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 6:33pm
  7. Fuck Yeah!! GO LADIES!!!! This story so made my day!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 6:41pm
  8. Aw!!! There are good people after all! They’re my new heroes!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 7:10pm
  9. The title of this article: “Married lesbian couple saves dozens.”

    Now, look at this sentence: Hege Dalen and her partner Toril Hansen made four trips back and forth in their small boat, picking up injured, bloodied and scared young people.

    Shouldn’t that say “Hege Dalen and her WIFE Toril Hansen?” Hmm? Isn’t that what “married” means? Isn’t that what so many of us are fighting for the right to be called — married, husbands, wives?

    Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 7:21pm
  10. No! Children of Satan saved our children! Begone barbarians! Thou shalt be educated! (Kind of funny when you think about it.)

    Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 8:21pm
  11. “Spouse” means marriage partner (legally), not boyfriend/girlfriend, or informally affiliated “partner.” We are fighting for the right to be called married, husbands, wives and SPOUSES.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 9:28pm
  12. The fact that this MARRIED COUPLE went over once, let alone going back 4 times, makes them heros – they saved FORTY kids – FORTY. WAY to GO! The fact that they are lesbians – some day that won’t matter when we describe our heros – they’ll be a married couple, a dating couple, a couple…..some day soon I hope.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 9:29pm
  13. Kids need heroes, nowadays especially. Here is the perfect example. It doesn’t matter whether they are a gay couple or straight couple, these two women put themselves into danger in order to rescue and succor forty wounded children!! I would be proud to call Hege Dalen and Toril Hansen friends! Bless you ladies and may you both have a long happy married life together.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 9:43pm
  14. What now theists!?

    Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 10:26pm
  15. I’m a theist. Why do you assume I have a problem with this story?

    Aside from that, bravo to them! True bravery – going into a dangerous situation to help others. Forty lives saved. That much less pain and suffering in the world. I hope I would be as courageous in their place.

    Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 1:10am
  16. I don’t see what difference it makes that this couple is gay. They did a spectacular thing and saved many lives when that fool went crazy. I respect lifestyle choice, but why make a big deal out of their sexuality?

    Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 8:29am
  17. @ Wytchywoman
    Look around the rest of the articles here and read about the people who hate us enough to call us “Satan’s own children” and you’ll see why pointing out a heroic couple’s sexual orientation is important.

    Also, “lifestyle choice”? Seriously? I thought the world was past that by now.

    Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 9:15am
  18. @Chris

    I meant no offense and I stand corrected.

    Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 9:24am
  19. Yeah it is true that it shouldn’t matter if they are gay or straight but that’s the times we live in. LGBT people need to show the public people like this to counteract the evil things people like the Bachmans are putting out there. It also gives LGBT teens someone to look up to and shows them that there are plenty of people out there that went through what they are going through and they survived and became awesome people and so can they. It pretty much show them to coin a phrase that “it gets better.”

    These ladies are hero’s plain and simple and I applaud them.

    Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 9:45am
  20. Sorry guys, I don’t get it. Coming from Canada, I think gays are cool and all, but really, must you have the term “married” applied? My mom & dad did not follow the same religion when they intended to get married several years ago. They were condemned by the various religious authorities, but went to court for a civil union and have not looked back since. It’s just a word. As long as you have the same rights as everyone (here in Canada a live in partner has the same rights as a married partner after a minor period of time), it shouldn’t matter.

    God bless you all.

    Posted on Monday, August 1, 2011 at 7:35am
  21. loosethoughts: No it should not matter. Unfortunately, a lot of US laws were written with language that makes it matter, so it turns out that it does. I think it is a religious issue, and therefore the word ‘marriage’ should be stricken from all US laws. What you call your legal domestic partnership is up to you and your partner(s).

    The couple in question are good people. In a perfect world, any group that could look at them and consider them a part should be proud of them, while thinking ‘But, that’s what people do!?!’. The fact that so few even ‘good’ people would make four trips, knowing and hearing the gunfire, is what makes them heros. Good on ‘em!

    Posted on Monday, August 1, 2011 at 8:51am
  22. I suspect a case of machine translation as well as a human attempt to make sense of the result. In the first quote she isn’t saying “We were eating”, but that the smell of gunpowder wafted over from the island. The bullets didn’t hit the boat, the couple said they saw them splashing into the water right next to it. There are a few other minor things such as Utöyan which should be changed to Utöya (the n at the end is just a Finnish possessive form).

    Posted on Monday, August 1, 2011 at 11:59am
  23. Why do they have to state the lesbian part. They are HERO’S …nuff said!

    Posted on Monday, August 1, 2011 at 6:15pm
  24. It will be nice when we live in a world where it’s not necessary to point out a couple’s sexual orientation. I’m hoping that’s sooner than later. Meanwhile, as has been mentioned, the GLBT community needs all the public good examples it can get to help counteract the bile spewed by bigots who are still socially acceptable.

    Kudos to these brave women! I like to think I’d have that kind of courage in a time of crisis. It’s a beautiful thing.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 6:32am
  25. So how long do you think it will be before Glenn Beck compares them to Nazis?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 9:00am
  26. Who are these Bachmans I keep hearing about?
    /Sweden

    Posted on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 6:09pm
  27. Their orientation is irrelevant. Were they straight no headline would read ‘married straight couple’.

    The fact that an LGBTQ source felt the need to point this out is more dismaying. We want to be treated equally, but then we DELIBERATELY segregate members of our group? Fail

    How about “Couple saves 40 kids….” and then mentions “Hege and Toril”. You know, like an ACTUAL news source.

    Because this article basically says, ‘Hey, look–we have good people too!!!’

    Posted on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 8:48pm
  28. @loosethoughts – All marriages in Canada are civil unions; there is no religious requirement. Homosexuals have the same marriage rights as heterosexuals – although churches can refuse to marry anyone they choose just like always.

    This married couple is an inspiration to all of us.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 9:53pm