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Isobel Bowderyvia Facebook

Bataclan survivor shares harrowing account of Paris attacks

‘I pretended to be dead for over an hour, lying among people who could see their loved ones motionless’

A survivor of last Friday's Paris attacks has written a devastating account of her experience – detailing how she had to “play dead” to avoid being killed.

22-year-old Isobel Bowdery, who was at the Bataclan's Eagles of Death Metal gig that evening, shared the harrowing details of her experience in a post on her Facebook account. She also included a picture of her blood-stained vest, along with a lengthy description of the evening's carnage – which saw 129 people across the city brutally murdered by alleged Islamic State terrorists.

According to her post – which has been shared over half a million times – Bowery was forced to lay among the surrounding bodies while the attackers shot around her. “It was a massacre,” she wrote. “Dozens of people were shot right in front of me. Pools of blood filled the floor. Cries of grown men who held their girlfriends dead bodies pierced the small music venue. Futures demolished, families heartbroken.”

“I pretended to be dead for over an hour, lying among people who could see their loved ones motionless. Holding my breath, trying to not move, not cry – not giving those men the fear they longed to see. I was incredibly lucky to survive. But so many didn't.”

you never think it will happen to you. It was just a friday night at a rock show. the atmosphere was so happy and...

Posted by Isobel Bowdery on Saturday, 14 November 2015

Bowery then went on to liken the attackers to “vultures” – describing their coldblooded and methodical approach to the massacre as something that would “haunt” her for the rest of her life. 

“As I lay down in the blood of strangers and waiting for my bullet to end my mere 22 years, I envisioned every face that I have ever loved and whispered I love you,” she continued. “Over and over again. Reflecting on the highlights of my life. Wishing that those I love knew just how much, wishing that they knew that no matter what happened to me, to keep believing in the good in people.” 

A total of 89 people were killed at the Bataclan theatre that evening, when the three armed attackers entered the venue and began firing at random. Although other survivors of the night claim that the first shots were initially dismissed as rogue “firecrackers” set off by troublemakers, it wasn't long before they realised the enormity of what was actually happening.

One video, posted to Instagram by another attendee, reveals the bone-chilling terror of the attack's first few seconds. You can watch below – though be aware that it does capture several shots of gunfire, and may be quite distressing viewing. 

These heartbreaking events follow the equally tragic attack on Beirut that took place last Thursday. According to reports, the Islamic State killed 44 people in the Lebanese capital, and injured over 200 – though this, for unknown reasons, has not been as widely reported.

You can read our open letter to Paris following the attacks here.