15 Jul 2016

'Panic, confusion and unknown terror': Witnesses describe scene in Nice

10:54 pm on 15 July 2016

Panicked and confused people ran through the streets after the deadly truck attack on Bastille Day in Nice, witnesses say.

Texan tourist Grace Ann Morrow told Checkpoint with John Campbell that the situation was initially unclear.

"It was like this eruption of panicked people, pouring out of the narrow streets, you know just screaming bloody murder, completely confused, terrified."

There was panic with rumours, talk of terrorism and major confusion.

It was a like a scene from a horror movie and people were just running from an unknown terror, she said.

"Nobody knew what was going on, everyone knew they just had to get out of there."

Until then the night had been very positive, she said.

"I mean people were enjoying themselves, the way Nice celebrates things is very lively, family-oriented, music-oriented, I mean these events go on all night, people come out of their houses to celebrate for 12 hours straight.

"The whole Promenade des Anglais, which is a very popular place to go for events like Bastille Day, there was musicians lined up for the jazz festival, there was little like kiosks for getting like cotton candy, kids were buying little toys and everybody was taking photos and a lot of people were there."

Ms Morrow told Checkpoint the crowd was a mix of locals and foreign tourists.

"I mean unsurprisingly the streets had been closed off to transport, to cars, so that way everybody could just come out and freely walk about and enjoy themselves."

She said she could not understand how a truck could drive through the crowd like that.

"That's why I'm having a really hard time comprehending what just happened."

When she was told that the death toll had reached over 70, she was distraught.

"That's so many lives ... I have so many friends that live here, and their families, I just hope everyone I know is OK."

New Zealander Jarryd Walker described returning home to his flat in Nice after the attack but being too afraid to put the lights on.

Mr Walker, from Auckland, is training at a hospital in the city

He was near where the attack took place and ran with others around him after they heard screaming.

He returned with friends to his flat, but they left the lights off because of rumours there was a gunman on the loose.

The New Zealand Embassy in Paris said at this stage there were no indications that any New Zealanders were harmed by the attack in Nice.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has also followed-up on all enquiries lodged with it about New Zealanders thought to be in Nice and all those New Zealanders have been accounted for.

The ministry continues to advise that anyone with concerns about a New Zealand family member in Nice should try and make direct contact with that person in the first instance. It has updated the number of New Zealanders registered as being in France to 925.