Second time lucky for Norwegian in Brussels

A Norwegian man who was only metres from Norway’s government high-rise when it was bombed in 2011, is counting his lucky stars after narrowly escaping Tuesday’s bombing at Brussels airport.

Second time lucky for Norwegian in Brussels
Johan Christian Tandberg photographed outside Oslo's government buildings on the day of Breivik's attack in 2011. Photo: Morten Holm/Scanpix
“I was bloody lucky!” Johan Christian Tandberg told NRK about the attack. “That was pretty close today too.” 
Tandberg was only minutes away from the Oslo tower housing the Prime Minister’s office when far-Right extremist Anders Behring Breivik detonated a car bomb underneath it. 
He was then the first to rush into the damaged building, recording 16 minutes of the chaos and destruction on his mobile phone in some of the most dramatic footage of the attack. 
On Tuesday, he was in Terminal B of Brussels Airport when the bomb hit. 
“Unfortunately, I’ve been involved in this before,” he said. “I had just got past the baggage area when it exploded. I ran into a restaurant and hid.” 
Tandberg said that since witnessing Breivik’s bomb attack he had been highly conscious of how vulnerable major European cities are. 
“Every time I go to Brussels, I think that it is a vulnerable city,” he said. “That was close today.” 
At least 13 people were killed in the explosions at the airport, according to the latest reports in Belgian media, and several dozens have been left injured. 
Metro operator Stib confirmed 15 casualties in the metro blast and 55 wounded, however unconfirmed police reports claimed the death toll could rise.
The Belgian prosecutor said that the airport explosions were suicide bombings, confirming the fears that the capital was targeted by terrorists.
Lillann Weggersen, a Norwegian press officer with the EEA described the scene at the Maelbeek metro station.   
“What struck me the most was was an elderly lady who got pushed out in a wheelchair. She was clearly alive, but in shock.” she told NTB.  “I saw several others with minor injuries such as cuts to the face and torn clothing. They looked as if they have been at war.” 


Kongsberg attacker killed victims with ‘sharp object’

Norwegian police said Monday that the five victims of last week's attack were killed by a "sharp object" used by the suspect, not a bow and arrows.

The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident.
The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident. Photo by Søren Storm Hansen on Flickr.

“At some point he discarded or lost his bow and arrows,” police inspector Per Thomas Omholt told reporters.

He said that during the attack on Wednesday the suspect killed “five people with a sharp object both in private addresses and in public spaces”.

Police, who had previously said that the suspect Espen Andersen Brathen was armed with a bow and arrows and two other weapons, did not specify the nature of the sharp weapons, adding that they were still interviewing witnesses.

“Everything points to the victims being selected at random,” Omholt said.

According to the police, more than 10 people were also shot at with arrows at the start of the attack, but none were killed with this weapon.

READ MORE: Norway police query Kongsberg attacker’s Muslim faith

During police questioning, Brathen has confessed to the killings and to wounding three others.

The 37-year-old Danish citizen has announced publicly that he is a convert to Islam and initially police reported that there had been fears of radicalisation.

He is however being kept in a medical facility pending a psychiatric evaluation, which is necessary to determine whether Brathen can be held legally responsible for his actions.

“As far as motive is concerned, illness remains the main hypothesis. And as far as conversion to Islam is concerned, this hypothesis is weakened,” Omholt added.

On Saturday, police announced the identities of the five victims, four women and one man: Andrea Meyer, 52, Hanne Merethe Englund, 56, Liv Berit Borge, 75, Gunnar Erling Sauve, 75 and Gun Marith Madsen, 78.