Paris attacks survivor Emma Parkinson speaks out

Nineteen-year-old Emma Parkinson from Hobart has described the moment she was shot in the thigh when gunmen opened fire at the Bataclan concert hall during the Paris terror attacks.

Emma Parkinson was at the Eagles of Death Metal concert over a week ago when the terrorists stormed the Bataclan theatre, killing at least 89 people. She spoke exclusively to 60 Minutes on Sunday night, saying she felt a “slap” when she was shot in the thigh by an AK-47 round during the massacre. She underwent surgery to clean the wound and is now out of hospital and recovering.

Parkinson opened up to reporter Ross Coulthart on the events of the horrific night, saying she was just “three people deep” from the stage when she heard what she thought was firecrackers being let off. “I thought someone had fireworks…I remember thinking ‘what an idiot, who does that at a concert?’” she said.


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When she realised what was happening, Parkinson says she looked back and saw around one thousand people huddled on the floor. She says the firing would stop for brief moments and people around her thought the onslaught was over, but then the shooting started again.

According to Parkinson, the shooters were on the balcony above her but it was too dark to tell. She said someone could have been shot right next to her and she wouldn’t have known.

At one point someone in the crowd yelled out that they had to run, and being so close to the stage, Parkinson decided to run and jump a barrier in front of her.

She was almost over the other side when she was shot in the hip. “Did it hit anything important, probably not, gotta keep going,” she recalled. Parkinson said it was “not as painful as you would think…like being slapped really hard”.

She was able to run to an adjoining building with around 10 other injured concert-goers, where they stayed for around two hours hoping the gunmen would not be able to find them. Eventually, they were all rescued.

Parkinson said she was carried to safety by a fireman who has since contacted her on Facebook to make sure she was okay. She believes the gunmen “were targeting young people who were having fun” and did it purely to incite hate and fear directed at the Muslim population and to cause division in the community.

60 Minutes made it clear last week that Parkinson would not be profiting from telling her story and that she would be making a donation to the International Federation of the Red Cross.

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