Friday 19 January 2018

Terrified text messages sent by teen hiding from gunman

James Edgar

The mother of one of the survivors of the gun massacre in Norway today described realising her daughter had "death panic".

Marianne Bremnes had been sending text messages to her 16-year-old daughter Julie, trying to reassure her as Anders Behring Breivik went on the rampage.

But when she received an SMS saying, "I love you even if we quarrel from time to time", she knew her child feared for her life.

Mrs Bremnes told Sky News: "She (Julie) knows five of those who died. No 16-year-old girl should deal with this."This is a tragedy that we have to deal with for the rest of our lives, both Julie and the rest of her family.

"We didn't know at the beginning how serious this was, so it took some time for me to realise that this was for real, that they fought for their lives."

Julie Bremnes, who had been attending the Labour party youth camp on the island of Utoya, managed to hide among rocks on the wooded island.

Her messages show the fear and helplessness the teenagers were feeling as Breivik went on his shooting spree.

Mrs Bremnes described how the mood changed after one text: "Especially after I got the message, 'Mum and Dad I love you, even though we quarrel sometimes'.

"At that moment I realised that she had death panic.

"My main task then was to keep her calm and keep her where she was hiding. But she realised that herself so they did very well."

The mother tried to keep her daughter calm as she watched events unfold on the news, but the teenager knew how serious the situation was.

"I told her that nobody was dead," said Mrs Bremnes, "but she was standing there and watching dead bodies in the water, so she knew that this was a big tragedy.

"When they came back on the mainland and they saw the bags with the dead people, then they really realised that this was a huge tragedy."

Here is a transcript of the text messages the mother and daughter sent to each other:

Julie Bremnes: Mummy, tell the police that they must be quick. People are dying here!

Marianne Bremnes: I'm working on it, Julie. The police are on their way. Dare you call me?

J: No.

J: Tell the police that there is a mad man running around and shooting people.

J: They must hurry!

M: The police know and they have had many calls. It is going well, Julie. Police are calling us now. Give us a sign of life every five minutes please?

J: OK.

J: We are in fear for our lives.

M: I understand that very well, my darling. Stay hidden, do not move anywhere! The police are already on their way, if they haven't already arrived! Do you see anyone injured or killed?

J: We are hiding in the rocks along the coast.

M: Good! Should I ask your grandfather to come down and pick you up when everything is safe again? You have the option.

J: Yes.

M: We will contact Grandpa immediately.

J: I love you even if we quarrel from time to time.

J: And I'm not panicking even if I'm s*** scared.

M: I know that my darling. We love you too very much. Do you still hear shooting?

J: No.

M: Have you heard anything from the other people from Tromso? Grandpa is on his way down.

J: The police are here.

M: The person shooting is said to be in police uniform. Be careful! What happens to you now?

J: We do not know.

M: Can you talk now?

J: No. He is still shooting!

M: Joergen has swum to the shore. I just spoke to his father. This is everywhere on the national news now, all attention on Utoya now. Be careful! When you get the chance, you come to the mainland and stay with Grandpa of Hamar.

J: I'm still alive.

M: And thanks and praise for that.

J: We are waiting to be picked up by the police. We heard shooting just now, so we dared not get up.

M: Good! Good, well done. The evacuation is now ongoing, they are saying on TV.

J: We hope we will be picked up by someone soon. Can they not catch him soon?!

M: The anti-terrorism unit is there and they are working on catching him.

J: OK.

M: Should we try to get the flight home tomorrow?

J: I have no time to think about that now.

M: I understand that.

M: Do you know if they have managed to catch him?

M: Will keep you posted, my darling. We are following everything on television.

M: Hey, are you there?

J: Yes. The helicopters are circling above us.

M: Then you should be OK?

J: They are looking for people in the water, we have not been picked up yet!

J: What are they saying in the news?

M: The police are also arriving by boat to Utoya, otherwise nothing new. It is not clear what's happened to the shooter so keep still. Wait for someone to pick you up.

M: Now they have taken him!

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