7 Harrowing Stories From Paris Attack Survivors Tell Chilling Tales Of The Tragic Night
On Friday evening, multiple deadly attacks struck the city of Paris, from shootings at restaurants and bars to large-scale suicide bombings. All the attacks seemed to purposely strike crowded venues. Officials believe the attacks were carried out by ISIS, which has since claimed responsibility. According to police, at least 129 people have been confirmed dead, while another 352 were injured. Since the tragic events, some survivors have shared their stories via social media and news outlets.
Most survivors recounted a lively atmosphere at the renowned Bataclan concert hall prior to the arrival of the four armed attackers. Others were watching a France-Germany soccer match at a nearby stadium. Some recalled playing dead or shielding loved ones with their own bodies. All of them remember chaos and complete terror. One Parisian man described the state of the city as reminiscent of 9/11: "I saw men lying on the ground, blood … I realized it was something serious. I wondered what was going on. Everyone was running onto the street. I had images of 9/11 in my head.”
Bowdery, 22, attended the rock concert at the Bataclan, and recounted in a Facebook post how she played dead to survive. "You never think it will happen to you," She wrote in the post, which has since gone viral. She recalled holding her breath and restraining her tears for over an hour. Read her full story here.
John Leader, 46, was with his 12-year-old son attending the concert at the Bataclan when he thought he heard firecrackers go off. "The lights suddenly went on," Leader told The Telegraph . "Everybody went quiet. It was clinical. All you heard was bang, bang, bang. The shooter was standing at the back of the hall and targeting people at the front. He was taking aim. He was not spraying. It was clinical. He was aiming: aim, fire, aim, fire, aim, fire." Leader also recalled the sheer terror he experienced, watching his son hiding behind a desk that the attackers could clearly view from one side. Read his full story here.
Melbourne native Sophie Doran, 30, was another concert-goer. She recalled hiding behind chairs with her wounded friend, and pretending to be dead for about 30 minutes until police finally arrived. "From what she tells me, the carnage as it's described and the bloodbath seems to be an accurate reflection of what they all saw in there," Doran's father told ABC. Doran's full story can be read here.
Cristine Tudhope And Mariesha Jack
Tudhope and Jack had attended the concert for a "joint birthday" celebration, when Tudhope recalled hearing firecrackers and seeing bullets fired. "Mariesha and I started running for the backstage area exit but didn't know where we were going and got lost in the building and ended up in the basement, where we found a small cellar where we hid together with two Italian guys who had been behind us," Tudhope told The Telegraph. "We crouched down, trying to be as still and quiet as possible." Their full story can be read here.
French journalist Daniel Psenny managed to capture footage of masses of people fleeing from the concert venue. When he took to the streets to help people attempting to flee, Psenny recalled being shot by gunmen from windows overlooking the scene. "I felt like a firecracker exploding in my left arm, and I saw that it was pissing blood. I think the shooter was at the Bataclan window," Psenny told Le Monde. His full story can be read here.
Italian tourist Massimiliano Natalucci, 45, was also attending the concert at Bataclan. He survived a similar attack at the Heysel stadium disaster, which resulted in the deaths of 39 people, 30 years earlier. "The terrorists were just three meters from them the whole time,” Natalucci’s father told an Italian newspaper. Natalucci's full story can be read here.
O’Connor, a British native, recalled throwing himself on top of his girlfriend to protect her. Both survived by playing dead while gunmen shot people around them. “What they want to do is to terrify us. We can’t let them win and these people just, they’re just monsters ... they don’t represent anything, they’re not Muslims, they’re not, they’re just animals," O’Connor said on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Stephen Nolan show. “How can you walk in there, I mean, I’m 30 years old, I was probably the oldest, one of the oldest people in the gig. It was full of teenagers and, you know, people in their early 20s going to see a band.” His full story can be read here.