Why it took special forces so long to reach Norwegian island massacre

Daily Mail – July 25, 2011

The wrong helicopter and a sinking boat

Questions are being raised as to why it took Norwegian police and special forces an hour to reach the island of Utoya – as gunman Anders Behring Breivik indiscriminately opened fire on his unsuspecting victims.

It has emerged that special forces in Oslo did not have an operative helicopter available that could take them straight to the island.

And when they finally arrived after a 28 mile trip by road to Hoenefoss,  opposite the island, 60 minutes after receiving the first reports of the shooting, they could not find a suitable boat to use

The one they did board almost sank because their equipment was too heavy – and they had to continuously bail out water as they made the crossing.

Police spokeman Johan Fredriksen told a press conference this afternoon that: ‘The police helicopters are only useful for observation, not for transporting groups of police.

‘For transport we had to rely on assistance from the military.’

It comes as Norwegian newspaper VG reports that an off-duty plain-clothes officer on the island was also a victim of Breivik.

Police operations chief in the northern Buskerud County Erik Berga said earlier today: ‘When so many people and equipment were put into it, the boat started to take on water, so that the motor stopped.

‘The boat was way too small and way too poor.’

The delay allowed 32-year-old Breivik to go about his deadly work undisturbed by police for an hour after the first reports of gunfire.

Sissel Hammer, the police chief in Hoenefoss, said she understood why critics ‘think it took too long for the police to come’ but said they had moved as quickly as possible.

Hammer said: ‘I ask for understanding of the fact that it takes time to send out a special armed force.

‘The personnel have to be notified, they must put on protective gear, arm themselves and get out to the area.’

Oslo’s acting police chief Sveinung Sponheim, who had previously said Breivik spent almost 90 minutes firing at young Labour Party members as they fled around the island or dived into the large Tyrifjord lake, admitted his previous time estimate was ‘a bit high’.

And he defended his special anti-terror unit’s decision to travel some 45 km to the scene by road instead by helicopter.

He said: ‘It was faster going by car because we would have had to get a helicopter from the base down south and that would have taken longer.’

He said the only helicopter available to the Oslo-based unit was parked 50 to 60km south of the capital at Rygge airport.

Critics within the police have long complained that the ‘Delta’ anti-terrorism unit is short of transport capacity.

Berga said that when Oslo’s Delta unit arrived at the pier across from Utoeya its leaders commandeered recreational boats to cross over.

Police sources said there had been much internal police debate over whether the first responders should have approached the island without waiting for the Oslo force.


Comment – July 25, 2011

The above article from Britain’s Daily Mail makes a crucial and telling ommission. While asking why it took so long for Norwegian security forces to reach the scene of Friday’s shooting, it completely ignores the fact that a police officer was supposed to have been on duty on the island of Utoya at the time of the shooting.

What happened to him?

 According to Russia’s RIA Novosti, Norwegian officials do not know…

Police guard from massacred Utoya camp missing

Ria Novosti – July 24, 2011

Norwegian police can not find a police guard who was due to be on the Utoya Island where 86 people were killed after Friday’s massacre, Sky News reported on Sunday.

“There was supposed to be a police officer there,” Sky News quoted Norway’s acting Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim as saying. The police chief said that it is unclear where the camp’s guard was.

Twin attacks that hit Norway on Friday claimed lives of at least 93 people. A massive explosion ripped through the government headquarters in Oslo, killing seven. Several hours later, a man dressed as a police officer opened fire at the youth who had gathered at the summer camp on the Utoya Island, killing over 80.

A 32-year old ethnic Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik who confessed on Saturday to the mass killing on the island, said that he was alone to organize the shooting.

On Sunday a 1,500-page manifesto titled “2083: A European declaration of Independence” was discovered on the internet. The document is believed to be written by Breivik. It describes, along with his thoughts on the growing islamization of Europe, his preparations in the 95 days prior to the attack.

Breivik said that being arrested was a part of his plan as he was striving for notoriety.

The first court hearings on the mass killer’s case are due to be held on Monday.


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