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Monday, July 22, 2024

First survivor tells his story in court

Eivind Dahl Thoresen, a law student at the University of Bergen, was walking home from his summer job on the afternoon of July 22 when the bomb went off that could have killed him. On Wednesday, he was in court in Oslo on crutches, the first survivor to testify in the trial of confessed terrorist Anders Behring Breivik.

Thoresen, age 26, was actually talking on the phone to a friend about the Tour de France that was underway at the time. It was summer, the weekend was just beginning and it was relatively quiet downtown as he walked through Norway’s government complex known as Regjeringskvartalet.

‘Huge blast, flames…’
“I remember everything,” he testified in court on Wednesday morning. “A huge blast and flames in the right corner of my eye. I threw up my arms to protect myself, and was thrown several meters backwards. When I tried to stand up I was very warm. Didn’t feel much pain…”

Thoresen landed between two persons who were dead, and he was bleeding heavily. Eight persons were killed in Breivik’s bombing, and more than 200 were injured.

He said that he saw another man whose foot was nearly torn off, and he wanted to help, “but then I discovered that blood was spurting out of my own arm. It was surreal, to see so much blood come out of my own body.”

Immgrant saved his life
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported how Thoresen wiped away a tear while he testified, and how some men rushed to his aid. One of them, an immigrant from Iran who had experienced bombings in Kurdistan, “knew to keep my windpipe open. He kept me awake when I was about to faint.” Neither of those giving him first aid left his side, even though police were yelling that more bombs could go off.

Thoresen was eventually rushed to hospital and has since undergone five operations to remove bomb fragments from his body. His last operation was just before Easter and he hopes he’ll soon be able to get around without crutches. He admits to having after-effects of the attack, including fear when he hears loud noises. “But I keep dwelling on the positive, that I survived,” he said.

He’s been sitting through his assailant’s trial since it began. The attacks, he says, “are a part of me,” he told NRK. “Half of me wants to be there (at the trial), the other half doesn’t. I think in the long term, it will help.”

Thoresen is one of the two persons Breivik apologized to on Monday, because he wasn’t connected to the government Breivik targeted in his attack. The apology bothered Thoresen “and almost gave me a bad conscience,” he told NRK. So many others died, while some survivors are worse off than he is, “but he hasn’t apologized to them.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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