Europe

Paris attacks: 'We experienced scenes of war'

People gather at a makeshift memorial site on November 15, 2015, outside of the La Belle Equipe cafe Image copyright AFP

Eyewitnesses are continuing to get in touch with the BBC in the wake of Friday's multiple deadly attacks in Paris, in which 129 people died.

Simon Phillips, 28, is a dual French and British citizen, who was sitting with his girlfriend outside La Belle Equipe bar in the rue de Charonne in the 11th district, when two men opened fire on the terrace of the cafe.

Here, he describes what he witnessed on Friday and how it has affected those caught up in the attacks.


"What we experienced were scenes of war. Endless bullets were sprayed by the gunmen. It was complete and utter chaos. The noise of the bullets outweighed those of screams and sirens afterwards.

My girlfriend and I had to act dead so as not to be shot. The injuries some people there sustained were horrific.

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Media captionBataclan survivor Thomas Tran Dinh tells Victoria Derbyshire how he had to run over dead bodies to escape

There was a lady next to me who had clearly been shot. I was covered in her blood. I was looking at her trying to see if she was alive or dead - trying to balance discretion and survival.

She looked like she may have died. She lost a lot of blood.

I had to check to see if I had been shot as I had so much blood all over me, but it was from that woman.

When you're that close to death, you're thinking 'this is it, this is how I'm going to die'.

It felt like the shooting went on for ages. People were using tables as shields to try and protect themselves.

After the shooting stopped, my girlfriend and I tried to help people. People were crying and screaming and there was so much blood. When the emergency services arrived, we just watched in disbelief.

There were people lying wounded all around me and shattered glass everywhere. Lots of them were dead and injured.

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Media captionSamuel, a survivor of the Bataclan attack: "I don't know why I'm still alive"

We have been massively in shock and needed a few days before we could talk about it. We have had sleepless nights since. My muscles were so tensed up during the attacks that they have really ached since.

We feel extremely lucky to be alive, but we will need some advice or help to deal with it. I have been having nightmares and flashbacks since.

They were horrific scenes of distress to witness. We're all in the same boat, everyone who was there.

I was happy to leave Paris and get back to London and I've never said that before.

I live between the two cities. I've got dual nationality and I consider the area where the attack happened as my local area in Paris.

But the tension and stress level in the city since the attacks is so high. No one is comfortable. Everyone is in a state of high alert.

I'm not sure if I want to travel anywhere any time soon. When you've been in that position, you don't want to be in it again."

Interview by Stephen Fottrell.

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