Page last updated at 00:58 GMT, Saturday, 29 November 2008

Mumbai shootings: Eyewitnesses

Employees and guests of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel are rescued by fire crews
Employees and guests of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel are rescued by fire crews
Mumbai is trying to come to terms with the aftermath of a series of attacks in the city that left dozens of people dead.

Here, people caught up in the violence describe their experiences.

British lawyer Mark Abell spent two days and nights barricaded in his room at the Oberoi Trident Hotel, before being rescued by Indian security forces. His room was located very near to those where hostages were being held.

We were too close for comfort and throughout the night the whole thing was punctuated by a series of explosions. Towards the end of the night it started to quieten down.

Mark Abell's story in full

I was communicating on my BlackBerry with other people who were in a similar position and we slowly started to get a picture that we would be evacuated.

There was a knock on the door, I was told it was security and they said my name. It took me five minutes to dismantle the barrier that I'd erected in front of the door.

When I opened the door there was, I would say, probably 12 heavily armed soldiers, some police and a number of the hotel lobby staff.

They took me and my baggage to the lift, and took me down to the lobby. The lobby was carnage. I mean, there was just blood and guts everywhere. It was very upsetting.

I'd had dinner in the Kandahar restaurant and I've now just found out that's one of the places it started and unfortunately the waitress who served us was one of the first to get shot.

People I'd seen only minutes before going up to my room are now dead.

Holidaymaker Harnish Patel was shot in both legs and the chest, after a gunman opened fire at the Cafe Leopold. Mr Patel, who is now recovering in hospital, explained what happened when the shooting started:

Harnish Patel's story in full

It was consistent, continuous firing - just random. And then it basically stopped after a while.

Obviously a few people thought it was clear, and started moving again.

But the gunman was still on the premises and started shooting again, and then people hid again behind whatever cover they could have.

And that's when he headed towards one corner of the bar and saw me and a number of others at the back, and just opened fire on us.

Even once I was shot he continued firing. I was the other side of the bar, I looked in the mirrors and everything else, I just froze still.

I knew I had been hit but I had no idea of the severity of the hit, so I just stayed tight.

When he eventually did leave, one of the guys next to me who had managed to get away unscathed tied a towel around my thigh where I had a lot of heavy bleeding.

Holidaymaker Joey Jeetun was at the Leopold Cafe when it was targeted by the gunmen. He has now returned home to London, where he described the moment he realised what was happening to him in Mumbai.

Joey Jeetun's story in full

You had Australians, Americans, British all hovering in one place and the Indian waiter was telling me 'Just stay here'. There was a bit of pandemonium and we didn't know if they were still there or coming back.

We all hid, flat down and were just really, really scared. We didn't know what was happening.

The waiters were really good and whoever it was who pushed me on to the floor, I just want to say thank you, because he saved my life, literally.

There was blood everywhere. I was drenched in blood, but I came out of it with only a little bump on my head.

When the guy pushed me to the floor and said stay down, keep quiet, that's when I realised there must be some kind of terrorist attack.

At first I thought it was a lightbulb going off as it didn't sound like a proper shotgun or like a rifle.

All I remember was the blood everywhere and just lying down on the floor.

This guy, I think it was the one who pushed me to the ground, he started going round, and started putting bandages on people. He was telling me to try to wake this guy and keep him conscious, so I was trying to do that.

But at the same time, it was just so scary because we weren't sure if they were still there.

Steve Vincent was in Mumbai for work, where he stayed at the Taj Palace Hotel. He was in his room when the hotel was stormed by gunmen on Monday night.

Steve Vincent's story in full

It was about 9.45 in the evening. I was in my room when I heard lots of shots, lots of explosions.

It was just absolute chaos, pandemonium out on the streets, people going everywhere. It was really, really scary. Just absolute carnage.

I barricaded the room, just locked the door and that was it. I just sat there and turned all the lights out.

It was the most harrowing thing I've ever been through. The most scary experience of my life. It was just awful. I'm glad it's over.

Nicholas Haywood, a British businessman, was staying at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. He took refuge with other guests in a restaurant, where they piled up tables and chairs behind a heavy door. The gunmen were pacing around just outside.

I saw a gunman firing into another restaurant and there were explosions going off, so I didn't stay at the window.

We barricaded the door, dimmed the lights, did what we could that we felt was practical and sensible to make us less of a target, and we kept pretty quiet, frankly.

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