A deadly drama on board a bus in the mountains of southern Norway Monday evening left three persons dead, after a man described as “desperate” and wielding a knife hijacked the bus between Årdal and Tyin. Police later confirmed that two passengers and the bus driver were killed and they had the assailant in custody.
The bus belonging to the Valdresekpressen line had been traveling on a regularly scheduled route over County Highway 53 when police first got a report around 5:30pm of trouble on board. Other motorists stopped on the mountain road to offer assistance in what they thought was a traffic accident, but soon saw what they called a “desperate” man on board the bus who was threatening passengers and themselves.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) initially reported injuries on the bus, that there were few passengers on board and later that three persons were dead. Police said later that the assailant killed the three others on board, including the bus driver.
Norway’s search and rescue service sent a Sea King helicopter to the site while local police in the county of Sogn og Fjordane requested assistance from police in Valdres. A patrol car was sent from Vang and state police commando forces in Oslo were also notified, but they were held back when reports came in that local police already had the assailant under arrest.
Details were sketchy, but police reported he was a man in his 50s, not ethnic Norwegian, who was captured by firefighters who were the first to arrive on the scene. They turned him over to health care personnel who took him to a local hospital for treatment of lacerations. It was unclear whether those killed had any relation to the 50-year-old or were random victims.
Police couldn’t identify any of the victims other than that they were two men and a woman. Witnesses at the scene said the bus seemed to be without power and was blacked out in the snowy weather.
Arild Ingar Lægreid, mayor of the mountain town of Årdal, told NRK that “it was terrible something like this could happen.” He said he and the top county administrator were on their way to the city hall in Årdal, where a crisis center was set up.