Barcelona attack: 'I saw wrapped up bodies. It was very frightening'
Spain attacks Barcelona attack: 'I saw wrapped up bodies. It was very frightening'
Tourists describe how they ran for their lives after attack in central Barcelona
Shocked Spaniards and tourists have described how they ran for their lives to escape the van that into a crowded street in central in Barcelona on Thursday in the first of two terror attacks to hit Spain in t he space of 24 hours.
On Friday, the country began three days of national mourning after the double terrorist atrocity that left 14 people dead and more than 100 injured.
Laura Free, who lives in Barcelona, told how she had been walking towards Liceu metro on Las Ramblas when she heard bangs she thought were fireworks. When she realised a van was driving at full speed into the crowd, she ran into the nearest store, a small sweetshop.
âWe were in the shop for about an hour, and didnât know what was happening outside,â she told the Guardian Witness. âWe saw stretchers with people on them go by and lots of armed police. At one point I was worried there might be a bomb or more shooting, our shop only had shutters on the door, the windows were exposed. It was boiling hot with no air con or bathroom.â
Armed officers later escorted everyone in the shop away from the scene, she recounted. âArmed police took us in a line up the Ramblas. I saw wr apped up bodies. It was very frightening.â
Richard Gregg, from Kent, who is on holiday in Barcelona, said it was only good fortune that prevented him being among the victims.
The drama teacher and his partner were on a side road trying to return to their apartment off the main thoroughfare when they first became aware of a commotion.
âPeople were running, shouting âPeople have been hit, thereâs blood everywhereâ. We had nowhere to go apart from into Las Ramblas.â
He said police were flooding the side roads looking for someone, he now knows to be the van driver, while other officers attended to victims on the ground.
âWe have been out [today] on La Rambla to see where the van ended up and where everyone was hurt and weâre really grateful because if weâd been there two minutes earlier or the van had been two minu tes later we would have been in the path of it without a shadow of a doubt.â
Scott Strudwick, from the UK, was in a department store with his family, when he was caught up in the attack on the busy shopping street.
âThe panic was quite infectious,â he told the BBC. âWe were all driven back into the back of the shop and then we went into a hairdressing salon and we hid in a small storage cupboard at the end [of the salon].
âWe were crammed in, it was very frightening, lots of people crying, lots of people very upset.â
Another British family was separated for three and a half hours, as police locked down Las Ramblas. Jackie Rado, 51, and her daughter Kristin, 14, took refuge in makeup store La Sephora, 100 yards from La Rambla, where they had been shopping.
âPeople came flooding [in] screaming and crying,â Kristin told the Guardian. I felt more scared I ever have felt.â She added: âThe whole way through people were very nice . They had drinks and food. Although it was very scary we felt safe.â
Her mum said she kept âpushing away the thought of what might have happenedâ if the pair had not been distracted by something in the sale, delaying their exit from the shop by crucial minutes.
âI couldnât believe we were in that situation. My husband and son had a scarier time as they were more aware of what was happening.â
Max Gayler, 23, from Birmingham, witnessed the aftermath of the attack, as he walked to meet a friend. âEveryone was yelling at me and telling me to run. Then the police turned up and they were also telling people to run down the street.â
âWhen it happened you just join the crowd, the fear hits you and you just immediately need to get away. It feels surreal. You run for about 30 seconds and then stop and check to see if itâs real.â
Shops were re-opening on Las Ramblas on Friday, with kiosks selling newspapers recounting the horror that had unfolded on the street the day before.
âLife seems to be going back very quickly to normality,â University of Glasgow rector Aamer Anwar told the Press Association, although the police presence on the streets remained âhugeâ, he added.
âShop owners are opening up, stalls are back out on the street, but Iâm conscious that there are two types of people here. There are those that saw what happened, there were those who were right in the heart of it, like myself, and then there were others who were tourists who had no clue.â
âI was conscious of that yesterday when I was in Las Ramblas, when there were people like myself who were in shock, people upset, people crying, but then there was people who had no idea what had gone on, laughing and getting on with life and whatever.â
Hours after the devastating attack on Barcelonaâs most famous street, similar scenes were playing out in the coastal town of Cambrils. Five suspected attacke rs were shot dead by police after a van ploughed in pedestrians, copying the brutal attack in Barcelona hours earlier.
According to one witness, a terrorist suspect shot dead by Spanish police last night appeared to be wearing Coke cans to mimic a suicide belt.
Fitzroy Davies, from Wolverhampton, was visiting the resort town for a judo camp, and saw police shoot the suspects. âIt looked like he was wearing Coke cans on him. I was about 15ft away and it didnât look real.â
He said the police arrived quickly and shots were fired. âThe guy went down to the floor and then he came back up again. He was smiling. It looked like he was high on drugs. Then he was shot again and this time he didnât get back up.â
Davies said he filmed the events because he thought the police could use his evidence: âI wasnât scared during the whole event. But afte rwards I spoke to my wife and she was mad at me â¦ she said anything could have happened.âTopics
- Spain attacks
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