Friday 28 July 2017

Paris Terror Attacks: Irishman shot in Bataclan praised for shielding his girlfriend

Rescue workers help a woman outside the Bataclan theatre
Rescue workers help a woman outside the Bataclan theatre

Ralph Riegel and Laura Larkin

A young Irishman who was hit during the terror attack on the Bataclan theatre has been hailed a hero for protecting his girlfriend and others during the shooting.

The man was at the Eagles of Death Metal gig in Paris with his girlfriend when gunmen opened fire on the crowd.

He was shot at point-blank range with a Kalashnikov assault rifle when the concert by the American rock band came under siege.

The man suffered severe trauma to the leg from the impact of the high-velocity bullet.

But it is understood that he lay across his partner in a bid to save her from the hail of bullets during the terrifying ordeal.

Sources revealed that the young man was injured at the very beginning of the attack, resulting in him losing a lot of blood before he was treated at the scene by paramedics and then rushed to hospital. Last night, his condition was said to be serious but stable, after he underwent surgery early on Saturday morning. Surgeons are now hopeful he will recover from his injuries.

A source close to the family said the pair were understandably traumatised after the incident and did not wish to be named publicly.

"He lay on top of her...he saved her life," a family friend said last night.

"They're lucky to be alive. They've had a horrendous, horrendous experience.

"It's been a dreadful experience. They just went to Paris for the weekend and this was the outcome," they added.

The young man's family were notified on Saturday and relatives flew to Paris to be at his bedside. The Department of Foreign Affairs is providing consular assistance to the family in Paris.

It is believed the couple only attended the Bataclan as "an 11th-hour decision" during their city break.

"They are a lovely family and hugely respected...everyone here is now praying for his safe recovery," one neighbour of the injured man said last night. "From what we have heard, he was certainly one of the lucky ones."

Meanwhile, Mariesha Payne (33) and Christine Tudhope (35), both from Scotland, told how they hid in a cellar at the Bataclan.

Ms Payne (33) said she was afraid she would never see her two children again.

"There were no exits but we found a door to the cellar, which we just ran into but then realised we were trapped and there was no way out of there.

"A few seconds later the door burst open and we just thought, they're coming we are going to die.

"It was two other concert goers; we managed to barricade ourselves in, turn the lights out and we were then trapped there for the next three hours just having to listen to what was happening."

Irish Independent

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