Emma Parkinson shares a terrifying story of survival on 60 Minutes.
When Australian teenager Emma Parkinson purchased last-minute tickets to a sold out gig on Friday the 13th November in Paris, she thought she’d lucked out. Little did she know, she’d just bought her way into one of the most horrific terrorist attacks in Europe’s history.
Tonight on 60 Minutes, Emma spoke to Ross Coulthart about how the attacks unfolded, her fight for survival, and the scars she’ll always carry from her experience in the Bataclan.
When gunshots began ringing around the Bataclan theatre at an Eagles of Death Metal concert, Emma Parkinson assumed – like many other concert-goers – that the noise was a firework let off by an over-enthusiastic fan.
“I thought for a second someone had fireworks. You know, like just little fireworks that you buy at the supermarket,” Emma told Coulthart.
“I remember thinking, ‘What an idiot. Who does that at a concert?’ But I remember thinking that something wasn’t right, and trying to drop down to the ground. And it didn’t take long for other people to do that, as well. And I looked back at one point and that’s just a really weird image. Almost a thousand people just on the floor, like that, in a concert hall.”
As the shots continued, the realisation began to dawn on the people in the hall that something was seriously wrong.
“They would fire and then it would stop for, I don’t know, five seconds maybe, and we’d think it was over. And people would start putting their heads up, looking around and then it would start again and everyone would get back down.”
“And then at one moment one person yelled that we should run. And I don’t know if we would have if that person hadn’t said. And of course he was right, you can’t just wait there. So, I ran towards the barrier.”
It was then that survival instinct took over.
“To be honest, someone could’ve died right next to me and I probably wouldn’t have realised, because it was just people rushing and trying to get out. And I was just thinking of trying to get out.”
The crowd, pushing and shoving, made its way towards the exit. Strangely, though, despite the growing number of dead, the hall is eerily quiet.
“It was only the noise of those shots, and the woman behind me started crying. And she’s the only person that I remember crying at that point. And she said something about how they were they were going to kill us all,” Emma told 60 Minutes.
“I ran towards this barrier and tried to jump over it, but I got stuck sort of like bent over like that. Because there were people around, I couldn’t get my legs up, and that’s when I was shot.”
But although she was injured, Emma’s instinct for survival was still intact.
“It just sort of came through my head, ‘OK. I’ve been shot. Did it hit anything important? Probably not. Got to keep going.’ And so I kept going.”
It was the lucky shot that saved her life. With no injuries to organs or arteries, Emma was able to keep moving and exit through a stage door.