Norway island survivors - screams, shots and death

Sat Jul 23, 2011 5:48pm GMT

By Gwladys Fouche

SUNDVOLLEN, Norway (Reuters) - "I heard screams. I heard people begging for their lives and I heard shots. He just blew them away. I was certain I was going to die."

Erik Kursetgjerde, an 18-year-old Labour Party youth member, described the fear and panic on Utoeya island when a gunman staged a methodical massacre on Friday -- half an hour after organisers had told people at the youth camp about a bomb attack in Oslo.

"People ran everywhere. They panicked and climbed into trees. People got trampled," Kursetgjerde told Reuters outside a hotel in the town of Sundvollen, near the forested island.

The killer, dressed as a policeman, "would tell people to come over: 'It's OK, you're safe, we're coming to help you.' And then I saw about 20 people come towards him and he shot them at close range," he said.

Kursetgjerde said he ran and hid between cliffs, then swam out into the lake and nearly drowned. "Someone (in a boat) rescued me. They saved my life."

"This lasted for hours," Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference, describing the killings on the island northwest of Oslo where about 600 young people had gathered.

A 32-year-old Norwegian was arrested after 85 people died in the island shootings, on top of the seven killed in the earlier bomb blast.

"I saw he had a handgun," Thorbjoern Vereive, 22, told Reuters. "Some people said he also had something that looked like a rifle."   Continued...

A Norwegian flag sticks out of a bunch of red roses as a woman places flowers on the market square outside the Oslo cathedral as hundreds mourn the victims of a bomb blast in the Norwegian capital and a rampage on an island in the countryside July 23, 2011. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
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