‘I thought we were going to die’ - student from St Albans tells of Paris attack ‘nightmare’
- Credit: Newsteam
A university student who survived the Bataclan hall massacre in Paris by crawling to safety over dead bodies has spoke of her ‘guilt’ at escaping with her life.
Hanna Corbett, 21, from St Albans, was watching US rock group Eagles of Death Metal perform when terrorists targeted the 1,500-capacity venue last Friday (13) night.
At least 129 people died when seven coordinated terror attacks took place in Paris, at least 89 of whom were killed in the concert hall.
Hanna, who is studying history at the University of Nottingham, was attending the concert with her friend Jack Konda, also 21.
The pair dropped to the floor along with the rest of the crowd and narrowly avoided being killed as they managed to crawl on their hands and knees to safety.
The friends have since revealed how innocent civilians played dead in a bid to avoid being shot as the slaughter unfolded around them.
Hanna said she originally thought the noise of gunfire was firecrackers or fireworks and part of the show.
- 1 Revealed: Hertfordshire's most desirable villages
- 2 10 filming locations of new Netflix series Stay Close
- 3 Careers advice for St Albans children in centuries gone by
- 4 Ricky Gervais' Netflix series After Life filmed in Hertfordshire
- 5 Town bank building given green light to split into three
- 6 Revealed: The five areas of Hertfordshire where the average home costs more than £1m
- 7 Party leaders at odds over latest delay to St Albans Local Plan
- 8 The Hairy Bikers set to ride into St Albans for this year's Pub in the Park festival
- 9 St Albans hockey player still going strong at 80
- 10 Area Guide: The busy Hertfordshire town of Hemel Hempstead
But she soon realised something was wrong when she saw lead singer Jesse Hughes drop and “turn white” with fear and the band run off stage.
Hanna said: “It was towards the end of the gig and we heard what sounded like firecrackers or fireworks.
“Everyone thought it was part of the show but then I saw the lead singer’s face turn white. We all just dropped to the floor. We were to the left of the stage in the main standing area, and quite near the fire exit.
“When the music stopped, the lights came up and there was this haunting silence in between gunfire. I could see blood and bodies on the floor.”
Hanna went on: “It felt like the shooters were near to us. I thought we were going to die.
“It must have taken about 10 minutes to get to the exit. But everything was moving in slow motion.
“We were on our hands and knees but everybody was being really quiet. People were lying on the floor pretending to have been shot.
“But in the panic of it all I don’t know whether they could have been dead bodies.
“In the background I could just hear these hollow gun shot sounds repeatedly going off.
“We were scrambling over bodies. I lost my phone, handbag, passport and my shoe.
“People were helping each other and hugging - it was really heartbreaking. Some managed to crawl out but there was just a pile of people by the fire exit. We didn’t know what we were crawling over.
“There must have been about 20 shots fired before we managed to get out. Then when we got out there were just people running for their lives. It was quite disturbing.”
Hanna and Jack ran to a taxi where they heard of further terrifying attacks including in restaurants near the Stade de France, where France was playing Germany.
She added: “It was only then we knew the extent of what we were involved in.
“I was hysterical and in tears and I have hardly slept or eaten since. We feel lucky to be alive but at the same time we’re in no mood to be glad or happy - if anything I feel guilty we escaped.
“It could have so easily been us.”
Hanna had been visiting Jack, another University of Nottingham student who had moved to Paris last month as part of a study abroad year for his French degree.
Hanna’s mother Tessa, 53, spoke of her relief after hearing her daughter had survived the terror attacks.
She said: “I am in absolute, complete and utter shock. We are just so very, very thankful and relieved that Hanna and Jack are okay.
“It was a dream weekend away that ended in a nightmare.”