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.
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.