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Victim tells how playing dead kept her alive


A couple hold hands as they join people paying respects in front of Oslo Cathedral yesterday

A couple hold hands as they join people paying respects in front of Oslo Cathedral yesterday

A couple hold hands as they join people paying respects in front of Oslo Cathedral yesterday

AS Andrine Johansen lay among the bodies of her friends after being shot in the chest, there was only one thought going through her mind: "I'm going to survive this."

The 16-year-old lay wounded in the icy waters off the shore of Norway's Utoya island playing dead as Anders Behring Breivik massacred those around her.

Even as Breivik continued to fire at her in the water she managed to avoid making the slightest movement and convince him she was dead.

In the end she was saved by the hooded top she was wearing which expanded in the water and took a bullet.

Miss Johansen, a youth activist with the Norwegian Labour Party, had been relaxing in a cafeteria on the island when the shooting started on Friday.

She dashed down to the shore with others in search of a place to hide only to be confronted by the gunman himself.

With nowhere to hide, she jumped into the water as he opened fire. A bullet struck her in the chest, puncturing her lung. Breivik fired at her as she lay in the water but one bullet passed through her swollen clothing and another passed through her boot, missing her body by millimetres.

Speaking from a hospital in Oslo, where she was recovering yesterday, she said: "When I was lying in the water the hoodie filled with water and filled up like a balloon and made me look bigger than I really am.

"I was looking straight into the eyes of the murderer when he shot at me aiming from 25ft away."

Her mother, Randi Thomsen, a tax official, said: "She was shot at several times but only hit once -- she was very lucky. She had big boots on and a big shirt, both her shirt and boots were shot."

Although she was bleeding from her wound, the cold water had the effect of helping to clot the blood.

"After that she just lay there playing dead in the water," said Ms Thomsen.

"She doesn't know exactly how long but it was about half an hour playing dead in the water. She was trying to stay put. There were dead people all around her, some of them were her friends. She was hearing the shots around. It must have been terrible."


Ms Thomsen added: "A lot was going through her mind. She told me right afterwards that she was just lying there thinking, 'I'm not going to die because of a maniac and a bullet.' That's what she was thinking all the time.

"She's quite tough, she kept herself awake until they got her to the ambulance. That was probably about an hour later."

Ms Thomsen said her daughter, who required surgery, was slowly coming to terms with her ordeal.

"For her it's just totally unreal," she said.

"She has been talking a lot and now it's just like telling a story. She says, 'I just can't imagine this is me in there'." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent