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Bataclan Survivors Share Harrowing Stories In BBC Report

21 December 2015 | 12:11 pm | Staff Writer

Viewer discretion is advised.

Six survivors from the terrorist attacks at Paris' Bataclan hall have spoken for the first time in length about the siege that took place during an Eagles Of Death Metal concert on 13 November.

In the harrowing BBC report, concert-goers and security staff recounted the events that transpired from the beginning of the evening, through to escaping from the venue after 90 others were gunned down in the attack. 

The three gunmen, Samy Amimour, Omar Ismail Mostefai and Foued Mohamed-Aggad arrived to the Bataclan just after 9.45pm and opened fire at point-blank range to the people standing outside.

Venue bouncer Noumouké recounted the moment that he heard and saw guns being fired. 

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"We saw windows breaking, blowing out. I went into survival mode. Things were shattering everywhere," he said.

"I was thinking get back inside. Open the exits so people can escape. It was a trap, they were coming straight at us. There was no way out."

Local punter Lydia attended the concert with a friend and she explained that she fully understood what was happening in the Bataclan upon seeing the facial expressions of the EODM band members.

"I saw them [the band] looking up all toward the entrance and their mouths just dropped and I could see fear and I knew there was death on their faces," she said. 

"I felt people falling, everyone, like dominoes and my body got squeezed against the barrier."

A couple who had escaped to Paris for a getaway together, David and Katie, were in the middle of the crowd when the terrorists opened fire which is believed to have gone on for 12-15 minutes. 

While they were forced to shield themselves on the floor, they explained how it was difficult to see their surroundings until the house lights were turned on in the panic of the attack.

"I'm definitely face down in blood. This is definitely a man that’s been shot. This is definitely happening. We can see it now," Katie recalled. 

David revealed that one of the gunman walked right by him as he laid on the floor to protect his partner.

"I kind of just looked to my side and I could see, they were just black, black sole boots with black leather I think," David said. 

"I thought, this is the moment he’s going to point at us now and we were the next to be shot. And somehow, he just walked by. He didn't turn the gun at us."

A large group of the crowd fled upstairs where 40-50 managed to escape through a hatch that led to the roof. 

Downstairs however, where David and Katie were during the attack, an exit door was opened which allowed them to escape.

"I just saw in my peripheral vision that these doors burst open and I don’t know who opened them or how they became open…but I just saw them and said to Katie, ‘We've got to go, we've got to move.'"

Gig reviewer Stéphane was one of the handful of people who were taken hostage by the gunmen, however he spoke of his disbelief of what they said to him. 

"They said, ‘We are not going to kill you’. That’s the first words I heard from them which was bizarre because everyone in the Bataclan was ‘They are going to kill us'," he said. 

Stéphane counted 12 other hostages. 

"They [the gunmen] took some bank notes out of their pockets, like 50 euro bank notes and asked one of the hostages, Sebastian, to burn them. At this point, I can imagine they wanted to show that they had not any interest in life because they were here to die, so they didn't need bank notes anymore."

"They told us that we could thank our President because of the bombing in Syria and Iraq...They looked very determined, maybe they had taken drugs. They were doing what they had to do."

Many of those who were able to escape or hide in various places throughout the venue took to social media to communicate with the outside world and French police were able to gather information as to how many gunmen there were and where in the venue they were based.

"The terrorist asked one of the hostages to yell its smartphone number to the police," Stéphane said. 

"The terrorists were only saying, 'We have hostages, we have explosive belts. If you come too close, we are going to kill hostages, so stay far.' They seem not to have any demand so it gave more impact for me on the fact that they were going to kill us."

Upon advancing into the Bataclan, police threw stun grenades towards the terrorists and proceeded through the corridor using full-length bulletproof shields, though they did not fire guns as they passed hostages and instead moved them behind the shields as they advanced.

Two of the terrorists detonated their vests upon the police assault while the third was shot.

No hostages were killed in the police attack.

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