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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 12 December, 2018

'I'm very sad. But I'm trying to be okay for my kids' - Irish survivors of Barcelona attack return home

The Potot family were injured in last week’s terror attack in Catalonia.


THE IRISH-FILIPINO family who survived the Barcelona terror attack has returned home to Dublin and has spoken about the moment a van started hitting people on Las Ramblas.

Father Norman Potot fractured his forehead when he was struck by the van and also suffered bruising to his kidneys.

Fifteen people were killed and more than 120 people were injured across the Barcelona attack and a later incident in the seaside town of Cambrils.

Speaking to RTÉ News on the family’s return, Norman Potot describes the confusion during the attack and waking up to what he thought was a dream.

“I heard a little commotion. When I looked up to my side I saw the van coming, very fast, running over people,” he says.

Just like in a couple of sequences, very very fast it hit my side, this ribcage. Then I pass out and that’s the last thing I remember.My wife told me that she saw me and there was blood gushing out of my forehead and she tried to slap me up to wake me up and that’s the time I woke. When I regained my consciousness I asked her ‘Where am I? What’s happened?’ That’s all.

The family then sheltered in a restaurant for the duration of the attack.

“I heard the policeman shouting, trying to secure us because they thought the guy might have a gun or something,” Norman Potot says.

So they brought us to the basement of a restaurant. My wife is like really scared, running around, because my son, his left leg was badly swollen. She went to my daughter because my daughter is crying and she got hit also by the van and while she’s wiping my forehead I told her, ‘My loves, this is only a dream’. And she replied, ‘No it’s real’. And that’s what I remember.

The couple’s two children were also injured in the attack. Nathaniel suffered a broken femur, while his sister Nailah suffered a fractured arm. Nathaniel underwent an operation on his leg on Saturday morning.

Pearl Potot describes the moment the van struck and she realised her husband was unconscious:

At the time I feel like I fell. I checked where they are, then I saw my daughter first and then my son, and then him. And I went to him first because I saw that he was unconscious, so I tried to wake him up. By the time I woke him up, I went to my kids and that’s the time the police told us to run away from that place and to hide somewhere.

She adds that the family haven’t really digested yet what has happened to them.

“I’m very sad. But I’m trying to be okay for my kids.”

Read: ‘She thought I was dead’: Irish survivor of Barcelona attack speaks out >

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Rónán Duffy

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