Oslo: A TV cameraman who captured the only
known images of the gunman during his shooting rampage at a
political youth camp in Norway says he had no idea at the time
that the killer was in his viewfinder.
Marius Arnesen, a cameraman for Norwegian public
broadcaster NRK, was in a helicopter hovering more than 200
meters over Utoya island, where panicked youth were being
massacred as they fled into the water on Friday.
At the time, Arnesen says, he didn`t realise the scale
of the disaster, in which at least 68 people were mortally
"We were circling the island taking shots of the
island," he told The Associated Press today. "It looked empty,
so at first I thought police had evacuated the island. Then we
saw people swimming and floating in the water. And then we
started slowly realizing what was going on."
He zoomed in on a part of the island where people had
jumped into the water.
"It`s really hard to hold a camera still and get the
framing right. So I just zoomed in and tried to hold it still
for 3 seconds," Arnesen said.
His images show a man in dark clothing surrounded by
bodies piled up on the shore and in the water. NRK released
them to other media after blurring out the victims so they
could not be identified.
As the helicopter left to refuel, Arnesen still wasn`t
quite sure what was on his tape, he said.
It wasn`t until the next morning, when NRK editors
were going through his images frame by frame, that they
realized they had video of Anders Behring Breivik, the
32-year-old Norwegian who has confessed to the shooting and a
bombing hours earlier in Oslo`s government district.
"I got a call saying, `just to let you know you`ve
captured the killer,`" Arnesen said.
The fact that the NRK helicopter arrived before the
police SWAT team that arrested Breivik has sparked criticism
over the police response. Relatives of people on the island
have also questioned whether the NRK helicopter put people in
Marianne Bremnes, whose 16-year-old daughter Julie was
cowering on the island during the shooting, says her daughter
came out of her hiding place "and waved her pink rain jacket"
because she thought the helicopter was there to rescue her.
"If she had been at the wrong spot she would have been
killed, since the police had not arrived yet and the gunman
was not arrested," Bremnes said by telephone from Harstad in
northern Norway today.
She said her daughter survived the massacre but lost
five of her friends.