Paris terror attacks

Pregnant woman in video finds rescuer

Flowers placed on a traffic light in front of the Bataclan concert hall to pay tribute to the victims who died from the recent deadly attacks in Paris, France.
Flowers placed on a traffic light in front of the Bataclan concert hall to pay tribute to the victims who died from the recent deadly attacks in Paris, France.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS • She was pregnant and clinging on to a window outside the Bataclan concert hall for dear life, her pleas for help ignored by people running out of the building to escape the shootings inside.

"I'm pregnant! Catch me if I fall!" she shouted repeatedly, but to no avail.

That was until a stranger stretched out his hands and pulled her back up to safety.

Video footage of the woman and her rescue has become one of the indelible images of the Paris attacks.


The woman who dangled from a window outside the Bataclan concert hall was pulled back to safety by a Frenchman known only as Sebastien. PHOTO: YOUTUBE/LE MONDE

A friend of the woman, who does not want to be identified, helped her track down her rescuer on Twitter so she could thank him.

"Thanks Twitter," the friend, Mr Frans-Alexandre Torreele, tweeted on Monday, the BBC reported.

"The man who helped my friend to climb in the window of the Bataclan was found," he said in another tweet. "The rest of the story belongs to them."

Mr Torreele told The Huffington Post: "She was saved thanks to a succession of small gestures, a little bit of attention, and in this moment of total craziness, these minuscule gestures accomplished big things.

"That's what my friend wants people to know. It's hard to imagine how merely holding out a hand or putting a hand on a shoulder can save people. These people should thank each other, should hold each other in their arms."

A total of 89 people were killed and over 100 injured when gunmen stormed the concert hall during a concert by United States band Eagles of Death Metal last Friday.

The rescuer, a Frenchman known only as Sebastien, told French radio that he had been hiding in a ventilation shaft with his legs dangling on the outside of the building.

That was where he saw the pregnant woman hanging from a window and calling for help.

"At one point, she said she was going to let go... you cannot watch someone die in front of your eyes, there had been too many already."

He told French newspaper La Province that five minutes after he rescued the woman, he "felt the barrel of a Kalashnikov (rifle) against my leg and a terrorist yelling, 'Get down from there. Lie on the ground' ".

"Those minutes were the longest of my life," he said, adding that the French authorities later stormed the building.

"I was trampled on but it was the happiest day of my life," he said. "I was saved."


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2015, with the headline 'Pregnant woman in video finds rescuer'. Print Edition | Subscribe