A JMU Journalism student has spoken of his “extremely lucky” escape from Norwegian gun terror attack site Utøya, having left the tiny remote island just 24 hours before the massacre.
Vegard Grott had been on the island the day before a gunman dressed as a policeman killed 69 people attending a political youth camp, and Vegard was due to return to Utøya for an extra day there but was sent to cover a football match on the mainland instead.
Vegard has been spending the summer away from Liverpool back in his homeland Norway, working as a freelance photographer based in Oslo, very close to where a bomb blast killed eight more people in a separate terror attack earlier on Friday.
JMU Journalism Photo Editor Vegard said: “I've been
working in the building next door to where the explosion
happened for the last two weeks but yesterday I was in
Kristiansand to cover football. This was simply because the
usual photographer there was ill, so I was extremely lucky.
“It was the first day in two weeks that I wasn't in Oslo. I was
even in the building taking pictures of one of the government
ministers only days ago.
“The most frightening thing was that I was working at Utøya
on Thursday, meeting all the lovely people there and was
supposed to go back there yesterday, but because of the
football the office decided not to send me there.
“Thankfully, I’m OK but I won't even think of what would have
happened if things planned out as it was supposed to be.”
Vegard returned to Oslo and immediately went to stand with
other press photographers outside the apartment of a
32-year-old Norwegian man, Anders Behring Breivik,
who was arrested on Utøya following the attacks.
Vegard watched as the police searched the premises, and he
added: “I can't believe what's happening here. There are
terrible things going on at the moment. It's absolutely tragic.”
The 21-year-old International Journalism student from Norheimsund is now covering the terror attacks news story for the Scanpix agency in Oslo, right next to where the government offices were bombed.
He said: "Not much is happening today, thankfully, but you can see and feel it in the people here what took place yesterday. I spoke to one of my female colleagues just now, who has been working from the first minute it happened, and she was almost crying but tried to focus on the work."
EXCLUSIVE by JMU Journalism Liverpool Life
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Vegard Grott was asked to cover a football match instead of returning to the scene of the shooting, Utøya
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Vegard joined photographers at the
flat of Anders Behring Breivik