Thursday 22 February 2018

'All of a sudden a wave of people came towards us shouting run, run, run' - How Irish couple escaped Nice terror

Alan O'Keeffe in Nice

An Irish couple caught up in the panic after the mass killings in Nice have spoken of their 'terror'.

Marian and Tim Wright said they ran for their lives as terrified people desperately tried to get away from the promenade as the killings happened.

The couple, who have three children and three grandchildren, were walking on the promenade "when all hell broke loose," said Marian (62).

"A wave of people came running towards us shouting 'run, run, run," said Tim (63).

Tim tried to protect Marian and held her as the couple turned and ran with the crowd. 

The couple had travelled to the douth of France from Kinsale, Co. Cork, where Tim works in the building sector and Marian is a special needs assistant at the new primary school.

Marian and Tim Wright from Kinsale in Co Cork. Photo: Kyran O’Brien
Marian and Tim Wright from Kinsale in Co Cork. Photo: Kyran O’Brien

"There was sheer panic and mayhem. Six policemen carrying big guns ran passed us. They were running like the clappers," said Marian.

"People were jumping through the trees trying to get away," she said.

Tim said he heard gunshots and began to worry they could be running towards another gunman.

Marian said "We managed to get into the Meridian Hotel where there was a crowd and we were all told to move to the back of the building. People were crying. It was frightening," she said.

Later, a large group of people went upstairs seeking safety.

"Around 40 of us burst into the dining room upstairs where people were still dining," she said.

"We could look down from the windows at the ambulances and police at the scene. It was unbelievable," said Tim.

"Eventually, they let us leave the hotel through a side-door into a backstreet. They told us to run and we ran like the clappers," said Marian.

They said they feel really sorry for all the families who suffered in the attack which claimed more than 80 lives.

Everywhere in Nice was very subdued the morning after the massacre. They went into a clothes shop run by a kind French woman.

The woman told them a large crowd of people took refuge in her shop during the attack. After the attack, the woman told them she  locked her doors with the crowd inside and turned off all the lights.

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