Saturday 1 October 2016

Lives and families destroyed by hate

Published 18/07/2016 | 02:30

Tahar Mejri, who lost his wife, yells in front of the Pasteur hospital. Photo: Getty
Tahar Mejri, who lost his wife, yells in front of the Pasteur hospital. Photo: Getty
A woman reacts as she places flowers at a makeshift memorial for victims. Photo: Getty

The terror attack on a joyous Bastille Day crowd watching fireworks in Nice indiscriminately killed dozens of people, including children. Among those who have been identified were Americans, Germans, Ukrainians, Swiss, Tunisians, Polish and a Russian.

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Here are portraits of some of the victims:

Rachel Erbs (39) spent her last moments with the people she loved

Ms Erbs, of Cessieu, in southeastern France, was bound for the island of Corsica with her husband and two children.

Their itinerary took them through Nice and they were outside with other tourists and locals when the truck barrelled through the crowd. Erbs's husband, Stephane, said they were heading back to their car with their two children, ages seven and 12, after the fireworks.

When they saw the truck hurtling toward them, each parent pushed a child out of the way. Stephane said he remembered seeing Rachel get hit by the truck, but he lost track of her in the confusion. He survived but with broken ribs.

Rachel worked as a sales assistant at a heating and air-conditioning company.

Four sisters were vacationing and seeing the sights in Nice

Two of them died in the Nice attack, two survived.

The Polish siblings were on holiday together and were waiting to enjoy fireworks on Nice's shore.

Marzena Chrzanowska, 20, and her 21-year-old sister, Magdalena, were killed. Parish priest Jan Antol, of Krzyszkowice, a little village in southern Poland, said their mother had died four years ago.

"They had been helping their father since he became a widower," he said. "They were fantastic, greatly esteemed." He said their father was in shock.

Zahia Rahmouni (70), a retiree from the northern Algerian city of Constantine, had been visiting her daughter in Nice

They had taken Rahmouni's grandson to see the fireworks from the walkway along the shoreline.

Just before the attack, her grandson slipped away from his mother, who ran away from the Rahmouni to catch the boy, according to 'Le Figaro'.

Rahmouni was killed; her daughter and grandson survived.

Laurence Tavet was spending the holiday with her two grandchildren, who were visiting her on vacation

She and her seven-year-old grandson, named Yanis, were killed in the attack, Algerian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdelaziz Benali Cherif told Algerie Press Service.

Tavet was married to an Algerian and was to be buried in her husband's homeland, along with Yanis, Cherif said.

Four-year-old Yannis Coviaux loved to throw pebbles into the sea

He and his parents, Nice residents, were joined by friends at the Promenade des Anglais to watch fireworks. Michael Coviaux told 'Le Parisien' newspaper that his son was a little farther away with his friends when the truck ploughed through the crowd.

"My immediate reaction was to grab my wife and throw her out of the way. When I got up, there was a huge crowd, and I prayed to God that Yannis was safe and sound," he said.

Then Coviaux saw his son, not far away, lying in blood.

"When I saw him, I understood right away. ... He resembled Aylan, the little refugee boy who drowned on the beach in Turkey," Coviaux said.

He grabbed his son and ran toward the nearest hospital. A car with three young men inside stopped and drove until the vehicle came upon an ambulance.

There, physicians took the little boy and tried unsuccessfully to revive him.

In his last moments of life, 27-year-old Timothe Fournier was more concerned about his pregnant wife, pushing her out of the path of the truck

"He was a dreamy young man, but he was always there for her and their future child," a cousin named Anais told French radio.

It was unclear whether Fournier's wife, who was seven months pregnant, escaped unscathed.

The couple lived in Paris and were in Nice for the holiday.

Irish Independent

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