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"We said our goodbyes." - Irish couple's miraculous escape from Bataclan horror

Katie Healy described how she and her boyfriend escaped despite him being shot.

A couple conforts each other outside the Bataclan concert hall after a shooting in Paris.
A couple conforts each other outside the Bataclan concert hall after a shooting in Paris.
Image: Kamil Zihnioglu/AP/PA

Updated 3.25 pm

THE GIRLFRIEND OF the Irishman injured when gunmen opened fire at a Paris concert venue has said that they are ‘beyond lucky’ to be still alive.

Speaking to RTÉ News about Friday night in the Bataclan theatre in Paris where 89 people were killed, Katie Healy and her boyfriend David Nolan played dead to avoid being shot where they lay.

“David and I were standing by the door at the Bataclan when the gunmen entered,” she says. “I felt a splash on my shoulder when I was watching the concert and I turned to David thinking it was someone spilling a drink.”

“We then heard gunfire and sparks and flashing, we realised what was happing and the crowd fell to the side. Everyone got up to run and the gunshots started again, so we lay on the ground among the bodies of everyone who stood with us and just played dead.”

At some point during the massacre, Nolan was shot as they tried to take cover. He is now in stable condition in hospital after undergoing surgery at the weekend.

Healy explains that her boyfriend shielded her from the bullets numerous times during the attack:

“We’re not sure at what point David was shot, he threw himself on top of me twice. Both times when we fell and he covered me and made sure my head and chest were covered as best as he could.”"It became quiet and you could hear everyone moaning and single shots started to fire and we realised that the gunmen were walking around killing everyone who lay with us.”

“We saw the foot of a gunman walk past us and we said our goodbyes and as we realised what was about to happen to us, someone opened a door somewhere and we just ran. ”

The young man, who was on holiday in the French capital with his girlfriend at the time of the attacks, is believed to have been the only Irish casualty in the massacre at the concert venue which left 89 people dead.

In total, 129 people were killed in six separate coordinated attacks across the city. A further 352 were injured, 99 critically.

The Irish couple were attending the Eagles of Death Metal gig at the Bataclan concert hall when four gunmen armed with assault rifles stormed the venue.

The young woman explains that they escaped to a nearby street before being taken in by a local woman. She was forced to drag her boyfriend because his injuries prevented him from running.

“No David wasn’t able to run, he didn’t tell me he was shot,” Healy says.

“We managed to get onto the street when a door was opened straight onto the street and we just ran, eventually a kind kind girl let us into a gated apartment and started to tend to David’s wounds.”

“We’re beyond lucky. People we stood with and danced with died and we watched them die as we just lay there and played dead. We’re beyond lucky.”

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Travel advice 

Though authorities in Paris are still working to identify all 129 victims, it is not thought that any Irish citizens were among them.

As a result of this, the Department of Foreign Affairs says that its emergency consular crisis response centre which was in operation over the weekend has now been stood down. The Irish Embassy in Paris is still in operation.

The department has also updated its travel advice for anyone planning a trip to France. It is strongly recommending people buy travel insurance which will cover overseas medical expenses and that they register their details with the embassy.

“Paris remains in a state of emergency and Irish citizens there should exercise caution and follow the instructions of the local authorities,” Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said this afternoon.

The Irish Travel Agents Association has said its operators are working to assist anyone who is in Paris or who has booked trips to the city.

Anyone in France is advised to be aware that a state of emergency has been declared and authorities are advising people to keep their travel around the city to a minimum.

- With reporting by Rónán Duffy

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