As the tragic scope and breadth of the Paris terrorist attacks continues to unfurl, attendees of Eagles of Death Metal’s show at concert venue Bataclan have begun detailing their horrific accounts of the hostage situation that claimed the lives of 89 people. Here are some of their stories:
“My friends and I were at a barricade near the stage on [guitarist] Dave Catching’s side. Eagles of Death Metal started to play at 9 p.m. They were fucking great, and I’m not saying that because of what happened. Maybe 40 minutes, 50 minutes after, we heard pop, pop, pop-pop pop, pop. It was not like the sound of guns. We heard maybe 15 shots, before we realized it was very serious. I didn’t see anyone get shot, but my friend who plays guitar in my band [Red Lemons], saw the three guys. He saw the red and orange color of the fire coming out of the Kalashnikovs. I saw Jesse [Hughes’] face, and all the musicians ran toward the back, so I said, ‘Let’s get out.’ We went through the stage exit right to the street. My girlfriend and my friends fell down but they were able to get up. It was very scary, but it was survival.
“I saw Jesse and [his partner] Tuesday from the band, Eagles of Death Metal, and some of the other band members, outside, and we were running with them for a bit. We were running beside Jesse, and I will always remember his face. We took each other and hugged each other. This guy was very … he didn’t understand. Jesse’s eyes were turning a lot. He didn’t say anything to me; his eyes said enough. He just told his Tuesday, ‘Baby, stay with me.’ That’s all I heard. He was in shock. The other band members didn’t understand as well; they were afraid. We ran a few hundred meters, after I saw them, I managed to grab a cab and that’s all.
“My friends and I grabbed a cab to the neighborhood called Le Bastille and went to our drummer’s place. We just couldn’t sleep. We grabbed bottles of beer and whiskey and were watching the news. I was on Facebook and on the phone with my mom or my friends until maybe 4 or 5 a.m. We managed to sleep a bit. We went back to the venue at 8 a.m. to retrieve my bag. The closer we got to the venue, the more blood we saw on the ground. When we finished talking to the police, passed a family of victims. I couldn’t look at them.” – Adrien Di Bona, Rolling Stone
“It was carnage. It looked like a battlefield. There was blood everywhere. There were bodies everywhere. I was at the far side of the hall when shooting began. There seemed to be at least two gunmen. They shot from the balcony. I saw my final hour unfurl before me, I thought this was the end. I thought I’m finished, I’m finished. I was terrified. We must all have thought the same. Eventually, when a few gendarmes came in slowly we began to look up and there was blood absolutely everywhere. The police told us to run.” – Marc Coupris, The Guardian
“I was in the audience and I heard what sounded like a firecracker. It was loud but the gig was very loud and I thought it was something that was part of the show. I think lots of people did, too. Then they started firing. I saw what I thought was at least two people, then I fled. The exits were clearly marked and I just ran. There were wounded, there was a lot of blood. Blood everywhere.” – Jerome Boucer, The Guardian
“It felt like a film.” – Anonymous attendee, The Guardian
“It was horrible. There were so many corpses. I just can’t talk about it.” – Anonymous attendee, The Guardian
“It was a bloodbath. People yelled, screamed. It lasted for 10 minutes. Ten horrific minutes where everybody was on the floor covering their head. They didn’t shout anything. They were shooting people on the floor.” – Radio reporter Julien Pearce, CNN.
“I found myself inside the concert hall when several armed individuals burst in, in the middle of the concert. Two or three men, without masks, came in with Kalashnikov-type automatic weapons and began shooting blindly at the crowd … it lasted 10, 15 minutes. It was extremely violent and there was a wave of panic. Everyone was running in all directions towards the stage. It was a stampede and even I was trampled on. I saw a lot of people hit by bullets. The gunmen had loads of time to reload at least three times. They weren’t masked; they knew what they were doing; they were very young.” – Julien Pearce, The Guardian
“We were in the middle of a concert listening to the music, having a good time, and then all of a sudden, we heard gun shots. They were quite high pitched; at first I thought it was a joke on behalf of the band. And I didn’t actually believe it. And the shots kept going and going and going, and people started screaming and people started ducking, hiding behind the seats and the chairs. And that’s when we realized we had to get out. There were lots of people panicking but it was still quite calm. A group of us managed to escape through a safety exit that was near the first floor of the venue. We were in the stairwell… and they opened the doors … and we all ran out in the middle of the street escaping for our safety. – Jenny Watson, French 24 via Slate
“I saw two guys. The biggest one said: ‘What are you doing in Syria? You’re going to pay now.’ Then he opened fire. I saw bodies falling all around me. I was shot in the foot. It was carnage. I’ve never seen so many dead people all around.” – Yasmin, The Telegraph
“It was about 30 minutes into the concert when I saw two men firing into the crowd with machine guns. I at first hid behind a speaker. The men were firing wildly into the crowd and even at people lying on the ground. Then I followed some people who were running out through a door to the right of the stage. It led to stairs but all the doors off the stairs were locked. We were stuck there for about ten minutes. There were thirty or forty people there. Then we went further up the stairs and arrived at the roof. We got out through a window and we saw a man whose apartment was in the building next door waving to us. We made out way over the rooftop and he let us in through his attic window. We stayed there until we heard the past police raiding the venue a while later.” – Frederic Nowak, The Telegraph
“It was chaos. I was on the right of the room in the Bataclan, an Eagles of Death Metal song was about to finish, when I heard the sound of explosions like fire crackers. I saw the guitarist take off his guitar, I turned around, and I saw a guy with an automatic weapon firing into the air.
“Everyone got onto the ground. From that moment, instinct kicked in. With each volley you try to get as far away as possible from the gunmen – impossible to say how many, it all went by too quickly. I tried, with some other people, to get onto the stage where there was an emergency exit on the right. And there it was chaos, people were terrified, pleading to survive, and others pushed and pulled at us to get behind the stage.
“We hid in a room on the right, by the stage, thinking that it was an exit, but no. A member of staff in the room said that the emergency exit was on the other side of the room. We still heard shooting. After a few more seconds or minutes, nothing, and we saw people edging towards the emergency exit – when I think about it, the gunmen must have been reloading at that point.
“All of our group then decided to cross, passing behind the rear curtain. Then we found ourselves outside, and ran towards the boulevard. We heard shooting in the street where we were but I didn’t look back. I ran, like all the world ran, towards Bastille. On the road there were already many police in cars and motorbikes heading towards the venue. I went home, I’m OK. Others can’t say the same thing. I wasn’t frightened, and I’m not [yet] in shock. I’m writing this so I don’t forget.” – Anonymous, Le Figaro, via The Telegraph