Inverurie man escapes from Paris terror attacks

Allan Mackenzie who was caught up in the Paris terror attacks
Allan Mackenzie who was caught up in the Paris terror attacks

A young North-east man has described how he was caught up in the deadliest of the Paris terror attacks.

Lawyer Allan Mackenzie, 29, dodged bullets as he escaped from the carnage inside the city concert hall targeted by the terrorists.

Mr Mackenzie, a former Inverurie Academy pupil, had travelled to the French capital with a friend to see American band Eagles of Death Metal on Friday night.

But expectation turned to horror as gunmen burst into the Bataclan music venue and opened fire, killing scores of concert-goers.

The solicitor said: “We were at the gig and about 45 minutes in we are down close to the front of the crowd downstairs and we thought we heard fireworks or fire crackers as part of the show.

“Then the lights came on and we realised it was people firing guns. Everyone hit the floor and I was just covering my head.

“I got separated from my friend pretty quickly.

“They were just spraying bullets into people on the floor – the guy behind me got shot and ended up covering me in blood.

“After about 30 seconds on the floor I decided to get up and just try and make it out.”

As Mr Mackenzie, who now lives in Oslo, and a number of others made a break for an exit the attackers turned their weapons towards those trying to flee.

He said ““A couple more people got shot as they saw people running for the exits.

“I scrambled down the stairs, another guy got shot and fell down the stairs. I made it out.”

Outside the concert hall Mr Mackenzie kept running amid the devastation.

He added: “There were people dragging their friends who had been shot,” he said.

“It was just chaos, blood everywhere, people crying, trying to get away from the venue.

“I banded together with some Parisians and we jogged maybe a kilometre.”

After being separated from his friend inside the venue Mr Mackenzie frantically tried to contact him fearing he may have been caught by the gunmen’s fire.

He explained: “I was able to get away from the venue and call my friend which was probably the most relieved I have ever been hearing he was okay.

“I didn’t see the gunmen. We were fortunate to be close to the emergency fire exit and we made it out within the first couple of minutes.

“We had dodged the fire by a matter or inches, it was just complete luck. People were just gunned down.

Mr Mackenzie then managed to contact his family to tell them he was safe – reaching them before news of the attacks had even broken.

He said: “I called my family and friends to let them know I was okay.

“I feel extremely fortunate. It was just complete luck.”

The atrocities in Paris won’t put him off returning.

He added: “We’ll come back, we’ll still go to concerts.

“It’s not going to change anything.”