Northern Ireland news

Irish holidaymakers tell of panic as shooting began in Las Vegas

Stuart and Zara McCormick from Killyleagh had flown to Las Vegas last Friday

IRISH holidaymakers have spoken of their panic after being caught up in the Las Vegas gun attack.

Many have been sharing their distressing stories of how people ran for cover or hid in fear for their lives as the shooting spree unfolded in front of them.

A Co Down couple celebrating their wedding and honeymoon in Las Vegas were enjoying the Route 91 Harvest country music festival near the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino when shots rang out.

Stuart and Zara McCormick from Killyleagh described how they were forced to flee.

"Zara ran and brought me with her to the exit... but we were held inside," Mr McCormick told the BBC.

"Then we hid behind a stall but were still visible. We thought the shooters were at our level during this.

"I realised it was coming from the Mandalay Bay side, so we ran towards Hooters.

"We ended up hiding in the MGM parking lot behind two cars."

Caitriona Toland from Inishowen in Donegal was enjoying a drink with her sister and sister-in-law when the shooting started.

"Within 30 seconds we were told to run, run, run. Everybody just ran and we all ran in different directions."

She said she lost her sister in the panic but ran into the bar with her sister-in-law.

"The next thing the barman called ‘run, run, there’s another shooter’ so we had to run again into another room.

"At this stage everyone was in complete panic. It was unbelievable. I just can’t describe it; it was just pure panic."

Ms Toland eventually returned to her hotel where she managed to contact her sister and sister-in-law.

She met people who had been in the arena when the shooting started including a woman who said at first she thought the shots were part of the show.

"Then they saw people dropping. As she was running out the door, the guy in front of her was hit in the back of the shoulder by a bullet; a friend of her’s was hit as well on the arm."

Aoife McAdams (24) from Derry also told The Irish News of seeing the shocking scenes from her hotel.

"It was crazy," she said.

"I'm here on a girls' holiday with three girls and we were having a ball. It's my birthday today and we had a show planned for tonight.

"We were about to leave just 10 minutes after we saw what happened. We are next to the Mandalay Bay and can see everything from our hotel window.

"The hotel is on lockdown and we all have to stay in our room. It's starting to calm down now at the Mandalay Bay but just a total shock."

Other Irish holidaymakers posted about their experiences on Facebook, letting family and friends know they are safe.

Janine Walker from Belfast wrote: "We are inside Mandalay Bay right now. You guys know this was our big night of Micheal Jackson One.

"It was terrifying when we heard our show blacked out because of a shooter. We held hands tight. Someone said to duck under our seats.

"It's black and scary. They've locked us in and said we are safe. I believe them. We are ok."

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