Thursday 19 January 2017

Irish barman was just 10ft from bloody carnage in Nice as he watched truck driver plough through men, women and children

Published 15/07/2016 | 12:08

Handout photo of barman Robert Greene who was 10 feet from the carnage in Nice as he watched the truck driver plough through men, women and children. Photo: Robert Greene/PA Wire
Handout photo of barman Robert Greene who was 10 feet from the carnage in Nice as he watched the truck driver plough through men, women and children. Photo: Robert Greene/PA Wire
French police forces and forensic officers stand next to a truck that ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday on the Promenade des Anglais killing at least 60 people in Nice, France. Photo: Reuters
Ambulances line up near the scene of the attack. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
People cross the street with their hands on their heads as a French soldier secures the area after the terror attack. Reuters/Jean-Pierre Amet
Twitter feed video grab courtesy of @harp_detectives of people running away. Photo: @harp_detectives/PA Wire
French soldiers cordon off the area after a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday. Photo: Reuters/Eric Gaillard
French soldiers advance on the street after last night's terror attack. Photo: Reuters/Eric Gaillard
French President Francois Hollande makes a televised address in Paris. (French Pool via AP)
Police officers seal off the area of an attack after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France. Photo: AP
French soldiers stand guard by the sealed off area of an attack after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France. Photo: AP
Police officers stand near a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Video grab shows ambulances and Police cars after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who had gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice. Photo: BFMTV via AP
Police officers and a soldier stand by the sealed off area of an attack after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France. Photo: AP
French police forces and forensic officers stand next to a truck that ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday on the Promenade des Anglais killing at least 60 people in Nice, France. Photo: Reuters
French police forces and forensic officers stand next to a truck that ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday on the Promenade des Anglais killing at least 60 people in Nice, France. Photo: Reuters
French police and rescue forces vehicles are seen on the Promenade des Anglais after at least 60 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday. Photo: Reuters
French police and rescue forces vehicles are seen on the Promenade des Anglais after at least 60 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday. Photo: Reuters
People cross the street with their hands on thier heads as a French soldier secures the area after the attack
Police officers carry out checks on vehicles in the centre of French Riviera town of Nice, after a van drove into a crowd watching a fireworks display on Bastille Day. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
At least 60 people are feared dead after a van drove into a crowd watching Bastille Day fireworks in the French resort of Nice. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
A soldier stands guard near the site of an attack in the French Riviera town of Nice, after a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display on July 14. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Police officers speak with a soldier after a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Police officers stand near a van that ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Police officers and firefighters arrive near the scene after a van ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display in the French Riviera town of Nice. . Photo: AFP/Getty Images
A vehicle of the Raid special intervention unit of the French police is seen near the site of the attack in the French Riviera town of Nice. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
A helicopter flying near the scene after a van ploughed into a crowd leaving a fireworks display. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
French soldiers advance on the street after at least 30 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

A barman was just 10ft from the bloody carnage in Nice as he watched a truck driver plough through men, women and children.

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Robert Greene, from Coolock in Dublin, saw one man's body torn in pieces on the Promenade des Anglais as a woman cried over him, while the shattered remnants of a child's bike were strewn across the road.

The 33-year-old had just got off a bus with a group of friends as the Bastille Day celebrations and firework display drew to a close.

Mr Greene said of the truck driver's progress: "He came behind us and beside us as he was cutting through people.

"He was as close as 10ft away.

"I saw this truck and he cut through three or four people, he was already missing the bumper. It was horrific."

Some of Mr Greene's friends ran down a flight of steps to the beach below the promenade as the driver weaved along the road with the lights of the truck off, running over people indiscriminately.

Still in deep shock after witnessing the deaths, he described the carnage the truck left in its wake.

"A woman dropped to her knees, someone in her family had been killed, just lying there. There was not even a thing anyone could do, there was no CPR, bits of him were lying around," he said.

"It was horrific."

The barman added: "There was a young child's plastic tricycle, smashed up and left in bits.

"I stayed on top of the stairs looking around. It was surreal. People screaming, children crying, young children running around the place alone, a woman on roller blades screaming for her child. She found him."

Mr Greene arrived in Nice in the middle of May to work in Ma Nolan's Irish bar and to soak up the atmosphere at Euro 2016.

He was returning to the city with friends after a pool party at a hotel on the outskirts of Nice and said he thought the attack began close to where his group had got off the bus.

"There was no noise. He came in between us and the beach. I remember turning around and then hearing noise but there wasn't a huge amount of noise. We must have been close to the start," he said.

"Some people pushed their youngsters out of the way, we ran to the beach."

Two of their group went missing in the immediate confusion, one of whom was on crutches, but they were reunited a short while later.

Mr Greene added: "It doesn't seem real. When it was happening I remember thinking: why is he not stopping? He was starting to come closer. Then he started to veer in and veer out.

"I was not really looking at the driver at the time. I was more fixated on the truck and the people, the bumper was gone. That's when I thought, he's not just going to stop, this isn't an accident, he was ploughing into people.

"His lights were out. There was no noise."

The group took refuge in the Neptune restaurant on the beach where mattresses were thrown up against the walls and windows.

Staff and patrons watched reports of the attack on news channels for an hour and a half before firefighters came and gave them an escort across the Promenade.

Mr Greene said the group returned to their apartment in the city centre and followed the updates through the night before coming to work.

"I was told to come out and work here for the Euros ... (they) said it would be great craic," he said.

Press Association

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