HAUGESUND / OSLO (Dagbladet): http://www.dagbladet.no/2011/08/01/nyhe ... /17519239/
Many individuals showed an outstanding courage during the terrorist attack on Utøya. 16-year-old Eric Høie Mortensen is one of the heroes who put their lives on the line to save others.
For 20 minutes he fought against the cold water and Anders Breivik Behring's bullets as he held two other people floating - one severely wounded. He had then already been swimming for his life for 45 minutes.
- I was just going on adrenaline. The only thing I thought was that I had to do it, says Mortensen.I got eye contact
On the fatal Friday, 22 July, Eirik Mortensen stood in the outer exit of the main house when he heard the first few shots. Suddenly Utøya transformed from paradise to hell. Mortensen ran first into the main house.
- I laid down for a while in the great hall. From that part of the island you can get a quite a good overview, so I raised my head slightly and looked out of the window. Then I saw him shoot people in the tents. Then he suddenly looked up at me. We made eye contact.Called the police
As the offender progressed down the camping, Mortensen jumped out of the window and ran down to the power house.
- We heard gunshots coming closer. I called the police and told them what was happening. After I had put down the phone, I heard the man shouting that it was safe to emerge, and that the perpetrator had been taken. People stood up and walked up to him, and again he resumed shooting.Said goodbye
The 16-year-old was sure he was going to die, so he called his parents to say goodbye and tell them how much he loved them.
- The tears were close, but I did not cry. If I had cried, I would have been weaker, and an easier prey to the killer, I thought. I had to handle the situation and keep a cool head, says Mortensen.Shelter
The shots kept coming closer, but Mortensen was able to seek shelter in a rock crevice along with others. That was when he saw a man who was about to drown.
- He struggled in the water, and it was obvious that he needed help. When the shooting stopped for a while, I stuck my head out to see where he was. Then he looked at me and fired. He hit a tree only twenty inches from my head.
Shot in the groin
After a while, one of the others signaled that the shooter had moved. Mortensen ran towards the water to rescue the man.
- He had a lot of thick clothes on, so I pulled them off him. Then I saw that he was shot in the thigh and groin. I put him on my chest, and kept a hand on the shot wound and one on the jaw so that he could breathe, tells the brave 16-year-old.Angel vigilance
As they swam for their lives rained bullets around them. When Breivik failed to hit them with the gun, he took up his rifle. -All the time we were fired upon. We tried to dive under water, but we had to up to catch our breath. I saw bullets hitting all around us. We had a guardian angel. After about 45 minutes in the water they caught sight of a girl, who cried out that she was about to drown. She had cramps throughout the body, according to the 16-year-old:
- I thought it was better to die in the attempt to save her, rather than live with the knowledge that I didn't rescue her. I swam away down there, and took hold of her.Swam for 20 minutes
For 20 minutes, Mortensen swam for his life with the two in tow before the rescue boat arrived. The 16-year-old was completely exhausted and collapsed as he came ashore. He was first taken to a café and then to Sundvollen Hotel, but he vomited and passed out all along. Finally he was taken to Ringerike hospital.
- I had lots of water in the lungs and stomach pains. They thought maybe I had internal bleeding, but I did not.Do what you must - NOW
The 16-year-old still doesn't know who the girl is or how she's doing. The man's condition should be stable, but he is still in hospital. Mortensen does not want to reveal his identity. Although he does not want to appear as a hero.
- I only did what I had to do, and what I felt was right. I do not see myself as a hero, he says.
He is aware that he would never achieved what he did in the water, had it not been for survival instinct.
- I never thought that I would be able to rescue and swim with two people for such a long trip. But it's different when it's about life and death. You have to do it.(translation by Simon Shack)