Sunday 25 August 2019

Irish student describes chaos in Paris

Hazel Bergin
Hazel Bergin

Sam Griffin

Irish student Hazel Bergin (22) was inside the Stade De France at the international football match with four friends as the terror unfolded.

She said she heard what she described three loud noises as "canons going off" in the 18th minute.

"It was our first time at a French international. We just thought maybe this is what they do at French matches - they sound this cannonball sound over the address system.

"Then we started getting Twitter updates on our phones. We thought 'should we leave the stadium?'. But we were with 70,000 others and nobody else seemed to be reacting."

Hazel, from Terenure in Dublin, was met by chaotic scenes just outside the stadium which she described as "a stampede" of people.

"All of a sudden everyone started screaming and running back into the stadium. We didn't know what was going on. We didn't know if there was a gunman right in front of us. It was total panic and then we were out on the pitch in the Stade de France. They wouldn't let us out," she told the Irish Independent last night,

Hazel and her friends made it to the RER metro but encountered more problems as they attempted to get home. The train was stopped repeatedly as security officers became concerned over unattended suitcases.

"That happened a few times. We thought we would never make it home and I was pretty sure the five of us would have to sleep on the train. But thankfully we got home," she said.

She heaped praise on the French authorities and the security personnel on the RER who she said remained calm throughout the ordeal.

"They were absolutely brilliant. Any loudspeaker announcements they made were in French and English and it meant everyone stayed calm. But It was a strange calm. It was kind of surreal," she said.

Irish Independent

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