Saturday 24 February 2018

Irish family still in hospital as holiday became nightmare on Las Ramblas

Norman Potot with his wife, Pearly Fernandez Potot and his two children Nathaniel Paul Potot (5) and Nailah Pearl Potot (9).
Norman Potot with his wife, Pearly Fernandez Potot and his two children Nathaniel Paul Potot (5) and Nailah Pearl Potot (9).

Ryan O'Rourke

An Irish family who were injured in the Barcelona terror attack said they have been left traumatised after their holiday turned into a nightmare.

Norman Potot (45) from Ballsbridge, Dublin, was on holiday with his wife Pearly Fernandez Potot (39) and their two children Nailah Pearl Potot (9) and Nathaniel Paul Potot (5) when the tragedy occurred.

The family were on holiday to celebrate Nathaniel's fifth birthday when the van mounted the pavement in Las Ramblas.

"We were on Las Ramblas Raval, the main road, while looking for presents," Mr Potot told the Irish Independent from his hospital bed in Barcelona.

"There were hundreds of people around when suddenly a white van came running through us."

The father-of-two, who has been living in Ireland since 2007, was left with kidney injuries when the van struck him on the pavement.

The family enjoying a meal
The family enjoying a meal

"The van hit me in my rib cage, I never heard any screaming, I only saw the white van coming through us very fast, hitting the little shop and me.

"It was scary. I don't know what happened next because I was unconscious."

Mr Potot's young family were not hit by the van, but they were injured after a stampede of people tried to flee the scene.

"The commotions of the people got them, especially my son, I think someone stood on his legs when he fell down.

"My wife and daughter were OK, they've got loads of bruises around their body," he said.

Blood

Mr Potot described the terrifying scenes when he regained consciousness.

"I could see policemen and people running and screaming, everyone was covered in blood, including me."

Due to the threat of more attacks, he added that the family were not immediately able to receive medical treatment.

"The policemen told us to hide in the basement of the restaurant because there might be gunmen or something. They told us they would call an ambulance when the coast was clear."

The shaken family are now recovering in hospital in Barcelona.

"We're OK, my son is in a recovery room, he just finished his operation due to a fractured leg.

"I'm under observation for 48 hours due to my kidney.

"My kids are traumatised, all of us are traumatised," he said.

Earlier Dr Emmanuel Fernandez, consul general of the embassy of the Philippines in Madrid, gave an update on the Irish citizens caught up in the incident.

Speaking on 'Morning Ireland' on RTÉ Radio One about the Potot family, he said: "The father and son are in hospital still. The boy has a knee injury and he may need an operation."

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney added: "In a way it's a miracle that more Irish people weren't involved, given that there are so many Irish people in Spain, Barcelona and Cambrils at this time of year."

Irish Independent

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