Sunday 23 October 2016

Waitress 'used London terror experience' to clear hotel terrace

Published 17/07/2016 | 00:26

Tributes are placed where bodies fell on the Promenade des Anglais
Tributes are placed where bodies fell on the Promenade des Anglais

A waitress has been praised for using her experience of terror in London to evacuate a hotel terrace during the Nice attacks.

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The woman ordered people to leave the outside dining area of the Westminster hotel along the Promenade des Anglais when they saw a lorry ploughing through crowds enjoying Bastille Day.

Tita Siren, 56, had been enjoying a drink with a friend when the vehicle appeared and drove over people in its path.

Ms Siren, from Finland, said she ran and heard a waitress shouting at people to leave the area immediately, in case the lorry might explode.

She said: "The waitress from the terrace, she told us later that she had seen these kind of happenings in London so she reacted immediately and she actually emptied the whole terrace after we already had run.

"But I heard her high voice ordering people, so she was excellent in saving people from the terrace actually."

Ms Siren also described desperate attempts of people to stop the lorry before police shot dead driver Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel.

She said: "I recognised that one or two men were trying to open the door of the driver. They were hanging on the door so trying to save other people's lives."

She added: "The whole width of the truck was full of people in front of it and it just drove over the people and they fell, like the driver was bowling."

She said it took as long as 45 minutes for some people to get help in the wake of the attack, describing injured people covered in blood and later bodies lying in the street.

Asked how she felt about people returning to the promenade on Saturday, the mother of three, who has visited Nice frequently for more than two decades, said: "It's a good thing, we should not give any space to the fear.

"Life anyway goes on. I was 20 metres from that truck, happily sitting. But I thought, 'It's going to explode'. So I'm very happy that I'm alive. So many are not."

Press Association

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