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Australian doctor describes the chaos.



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RN PM Australian doctor describes the chaos

27/11/2008

Australian doctor describes the chaos

PM - Thursday, 27 November , 2008 18:22:00

MARK COLVIN: A group of five Australian trainee doctors who'd been working in a hospital in Mumbai were at the Cafe Leopold near the Taj Hotel at the time of the attacks.

John Goddard and his friends were having a beer upstairs when the attackers came in and started shooting.

After hiding in the bathroom they escaped and ran up the road to a hostel where they're now waiting for the authorities to say when they can leave.

When John Goddard spoke to Brigid Glanville on the phone from Mumbai late this afternoon, he told her things had calmed down.

JOHN GODDARD: We were sitting upstairs in the bar having a round of beer. What sounded like a loud explosion downstairs blew out all the windows. Everyone sort of jumped under the tables and then automatic fire opened up for about three or four minutes.

Upstairs everyone sort of crammed sort of behind the bar and into the toilets and locked themselves in as much as we could and pretty much just sat there in silence for about 15 minutes waiting to see what would happen.

Eventually police yelled out and we ran downstairs and just ran as fast as we could and came to the nearest hotel we could find that was open and just ran inside.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: And at the time you were with all your friends did you hide under the table? What did you do?

JOHN GODDARD: Personally we were under the table for about a minute and then everyone was crawling on their knees because there was glass and gunfire downstairs. Then there was about 40 crammed behind the bar, people sort of half-hidden pressed in as hard as we could. A few of us locked ourselves into a toilet and then waited until everyone else started leaving and then just ran out.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: And did you know what was going on? What thoughts were going through your head?

JOHN GODDARD: When it first started it sounded like firecrackers, so we didn't really know what was going on. After about four or five seconds we could hear the screams and sort of realised it was more serious and everyone just knew there was something bad going on and all we could do was wait.

There was only one way out of that bar, so it was either wait there or run out into the unknown and eventually we just ran out. They said it was gang warfare but pretty soon other reports started coming in and they realised what was going on.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: It must have been absolutely terrifying for you.

JOHN GODDARD: Oh yeah it was pretty scary, yeah.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: And how are your other friends? Were any of you injured or people around you were they injured?

JOHN GODDARD: All the Australians that I'm with are fine. None of us have any injuries or anything; we were basically just waiting for it to get calm.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: And when these people came in shooting, how many people were there and were they just randomly shooting?

JOHN GODDARD: I couldn't tell. From upstairs we couldn't see anything. All we heard was sporadic automatic fire for about three minutes, that's all we could hear.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: And when you ran out onto the streets, what happened then? Where did you go?

JOHN GODDARD: There was a massive crowd of people and we just started running down the street. We thought we were going towards the embassy but we couldn't find it so we just ran to the YMCA because it was the nearest hotel we could see.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: I should say, where are you in relation now, how far away are you from the bar?

JOHN GODDARD: We're three to 500 metres from the Taj. No one really knows what's going on because there's a few rumours going around but we're just watching the news. Everyone here seems pretty calm and we're just waiting for the situations to become clear and then we're going to try and move to get our bags.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: And just describe to us when you were running down the street, what was the scene like there?

JOHN GODDARD: Police, onlookers, just buses backed up for hundreds of metres because he traffic had stopped. Downstairs at the bar the tables were all turned over there was broken glass everywhere. We didn't really get much of a

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look inside because we were running out fast. It was quite chaotic there were just ununiformed police officers with guns just telling us to move basically.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: And was firing still going on? Could you hear shots?

JOHN GODDARD: No, it had been quiet for about 15 minutes before any of us moved from upstairs. We weren't sure who was downstairs and what the situation was. So there was no gunshots at that time. I think whoever had been there had already run on to another location.

MARK COLVIN: Trainee doctor John Goddard in Mumbai speaking to Brigid Glanville.

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