Survivors describe deadly attack on New Zealand mosques

Diederik van Heyningen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) — Survivors scrambled for their lives, scaled fences and hid beneath benches as two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, came under terrorist attack from at least one heavily armed shooter Friday.

Once the shooting had stopped, at least 49 people were dead. Forty-one people were killed at the Deans Avenue mosque, Masjid Al Noor, while another seven were killed a few miles away at Linwood Masjid Mosque. Another person died at Christchurch Hospital.

“I’d never heard a gunshot, ever,” Mulki Abdiwahab, 18, told TVNZ. She and her parents had gone to pray at the Deans Avenue mosque Friday afternoon. “I thought at first it must have been somebody banging on the window.”

“My mum grabbed my hand and then we just we ran outside,” she said. “Everyone was in chaos, just running for their lives.”

Police have not said whether the same shooter opened fire at both mosques. Four people were taken into custody, but only one — an Australian national — had been charged with murder as night fell in New Zealand.

The “very well-planned” attack was filmed on a Facebook livestream — with it tracking the shooter’s footsteps leading up to and including the gunfire at Deans Avenue.

“I heard what I thought was fireworks and I saw a bunch of fellas running down the street,” a woman who was driving by the mosque told TVNZ. “Then all of a sudden it got violent, and they started falling. And one fell to left of my car and one fell to right.”

Christchurch Hospital said it had taken in 48 people injured by gunfire, including one who later died. The range of injuries were from minor to critical, a hospital spokesperson said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had said earlier in the evening that 20 of the injured had what were considered “serious” injuries.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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