Paris: As pools of blood seep between overturned tables, the only sound shattering the eerie silence of the Paris street is the voice of the man filming the scene, who can only exclaim the words “Jesus Christ.”
Four bodies lie crumpled on the ground outside La Bonne Biere restaurant in Paris as stunned bystanders look on, just seconds after the worst terror attack in French history, according to a new video obtained by AFP.
The three-minute footage was shot at one of the outdoor bistro terraces attacked on Friday in a series of massacres claimed by the Islamic State group (IS), which left a total of 129 people dead and 352 wounded.
Passers-by fish out their smartphones and begin taking photographs and videos of the bodies, some getting up close.
A man kneels beside one of the victims, another appears to be checking the pulse of a brown-haired woman, slumped face down between the restaurant’s tables and chairs. Groups of people cluster around to watch.
“It’s carnage”, a voice can be heard saying off-camera, as the images briefly show the body of a fifth victim, collapsed in front of a laundrette near the cafe, where a nervous crowd has gathered amid shards of shattered glass.
One of the victims tries to struggle up, before slumping back to the ground. None of the bodies are identifiable in the footage.
“We did not know if the people were dead,” the author of the images told AFP, admitting he was “shocked” by this “scene of war” in the Parisian neighbourhood where he grew up.
After about a minute, a plainclothes police officer with a baton arrives and tries to move back the rubber-necking crowd.
“What have you filmed?” he asks, tapping the camera, in the chance the attack had been caught on film.
Then “move back, stay clear” to all those nearby, including a dazed couple who unwittingly strolled into the crime scene.
The sequence was shot “twenty seconds” after the terrorists drove off in a getaway car, according to the man, a former photographer who runs a nearby gallery.
After hearing what felt like an endless hail of gunfire, he had grabbed his camera and raced outside.
“I thought it was a settling of scores, but there were dead people everywhere”, he said, adding that he had seen another victim in a car which does not appear in the images.
“It was awful. I haven’t taken journalistic photographs in a long time. I was in a state of panic,” he said, excusing the shaky footage.
“We saw police cars and ambulances passing, but they did not stop even though we were flagging them down,” he added.
“They went straight to Le Carillon” bar, which was attacked by jihadists at almost the same time.