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Police were slow to respond to Norway shooting rampage

OSLO, Norway — Police arrived at the massacre on Utoya Island about an hour and a half after a gunman first opened fire.

They were slowed because they didn't have quick access to a helicopter and then couldn't find a boat to make their way to the scene just several hundred yards offshore, authorities said Saturday.

Survivors of the shooting rampage have described hiding and fleeing into the water to escape, but a police briefing Saturday detailed for the first time how long the terror lasted — and how long victims waited for help.

A SWAT team was dispatched to the island more than 50 minutes after people vacationing at a campground said they heard shooting across the lake, according to police Chief Sveinung Sponheim. The drive to the lake took about 20 minutes, and once there, the team took another 20 minutes to find a boat.

Footage filmed from a helicopter that showed the gunman firing into the water added to the impression that police were slow to the scene. They chose to drive, Sponheim said, because their helicopter wasn't on standby.

Police were slow to respond to Norway shooting rampage 07/23/11 [Last modified: Saturday, July 23, 2011 10:59pm]
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