Irish people tell of "stampede" as people ran for safety from terror attacks in Barcelona

Shari and Danny Butcher, from Limavady, were caught up in the terror attack in Barcelona
Marie Louise McConville

A CO Derry woman who was caught up in the terror attacks in Barcelona has told of seeing "people being trampled" in the panic as they attempted to flee the scene.

Limavady couple Shari and Danny Butcher said they had walked along Las Ramblas before the attack. Thirteen people were killed and scores of others were injured as a van driver zig-zagged along the famous tourist street.

The mother-of-three, who arrived in Barcelona on Monday, said the couple had paused for a time along Las Ramblas, debating whether or not to sit down for a drink, but had then decided to walk on, a decision, she says which may have saved their lives.

Mrs Butcher told how the place descended into panic when there was "a big proper bang".

"Everybody started screaming and running towards us and the police were running blowing whistles. We didn't know what it was," she said.

"Danny looked across and saw a couple of people lying on the ground.

"I just ran and ran. People were being trampled. It was awful. I was terrified. We didn't hear gunfire. In my mind I visualised knives liked London.

"I ran and ran and I tripped and fell. My sandal came off and it was handing on by my ankle so I was then running barefoot.

I ran into the hotel, upstairs into the room and locked the doors. I just sat in the bathroom with all the lights switched off. I didn't know what was going to happen. If there was an noise I was horrified".

Mrs Butcher, a civil servant in her 40s, said she had been left "a complete wreck"

"I cried and cried and cried so much last night, most of the night," she said.

"If we had sat down and had the would have been us there in the middle of the street".

Co Donegal woman, Amy McColgan was also caught up in the panic.

The 27-year-old, from Letterkenny, works as a translator in an office just yards from Las Ramblas. She became aware of the attack when she heard people screaming outside her office window.

"We have a lot of windows in the office and we can always hear cars on the road and sirens and stuff but all of a sudden we just heard crowds of people all at once shouting and screaming," she said.

"We all ran to the windows then and then there were hundreds of people running up the road, screaming and running for their lives."

"It was nerve-wracking; people were looking out and saying 'God what are they going to do now.' It was creepy".

West Belfast man, Martin Kane, who was also in Barcelona on honeymoon with his wife, Sharon Kane, also described the terror.

The couple had just arrived in the city when "everyone started running".

"People were screaming and crying" said Mr Kane

"It was a stampede. Then the sirens began. We just ran into the nearest hotel"

Mr Kane said his wife, Sharon "hadn't stopped crying" after what had happened.

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