BY NOREEN FAGAN – I would like to think that everyone, given the chance, would act as heroically in a crisis as Toril Hansen and Hege Dalen.
The website Talk About Equality tells their story.
The two were having dinner on the shores of Lake Tyrifjorden
when they heard gunfire and screaming from a nearby island, Utoya.
The commotion was coming from terrified teens who were being gunned
down by a Norwegian man dressed as a police officer. We now know that man was
Anders Behring Breivik, who, after setting off a bomb in Oslo, made his way to the
summer camp, where teenaged members of politically connected families were spending their
When Hansen and Dalen heard the screams, they did what any
heroes would do — they climbed into their boat and made their way to the island.
For the next few hours the married couple worked to rescue as many people as possible.
“We were eating. Then shooting and then the awful screaming.
We saw how the young people ran in panic into the lake,” says Dalen to the
Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.
Even though their boat was hit by bullets on the first trip, the women repeated their rescue mission four times that evening,
picking up victims who had jumped into the water trying to escape. Each time, Dalen
and Hansen ferried the rescued youth to the mainland before turning back to the island. In
the end the two were able to rescue 40 people.
Their act went largely unnoticed by the mainstream press, but the word is slowly getting
out about what these two women did. Maybe their heroism will be
publicly acknowledged eventually.
But even if
that doesn’t happen, in my mind they are more than heroes — they are superheroes.