• France's news in English
How a show of hands saved 40 from Bataclan gunmen
Police outside the Bataclan during the investigation. Photo: AFP

How a show of hands saved 40 from Bataclan gunmen

The Local · 18 Mar 2016, 14:33

Published: 18 Mar 2016 14:33 GMT+01:00

One survivor of the Bataclan massacre told of how a group 40 barricaded themselves in a tiny room for three hours, and were only saved from the gunmen thanks to the result of a vote, that was only won by a narrow majority.

As killers stormed the theatre, shooting at concert-goers indiscriminately, the group managed to shelter in the room, measuring just nine metres squared.

One of them, Caroline Langlade, gave the shocking testimony to the parliamentary commission, explaining how the group barricaded the door with a sofa and mini fridge.

“I turned off the lamp, closed the windows so that we couldn’t be seen...so that the terrorist couldn’t see how many of us there were by looking through the gap in the door, which half-opened with every blow he gave it," Langlade recalled.

The men and women remained trapped in the dark for three hours.

However, the attacker changed his tactic, and after a long silence, he returned to the door, saying: “Open the door, it’s the GIGN [specialist French police units], I’ve come to rescue you."

At this point, the terrified victims were divided as to whether to open the door. So Langlade initiated a quick show of hands.

After conducting a vote, they decided - by a narrow majority - to keep the door shut and remain inside.

It proved to be the right decision and eventually, the real police turned up, but they too had trouble convincing the survivors that they were genuine.

To ensure that this wasn't another trick, the victims called police and passed on a secret code for the officers outside the door to tell them.

They remained barricaded in the room for a further 15 minutes until they were convinced it was safe to leave.

Story continues below…

The parliamentary commission, chaired by Georges Fenech, is investigating the attacks which saw 130 people killed, 90 of them at the Bataclan.

On Thursday they witnessed a reconstruction of the police raid on the Bataclan, that drew anger from families of those who were killed.


Today's headlines
Mixed reaction from the French as UK votes for Brexit
Photo: AFP

The Brexit vote has prompted a mixed bag of reactions from the French public.

Opinion - Brexit seen from abroad
'Today it's hard not to feel ashamed to be British'
Photo: AFP

Apologies France, we may have just messed up your country too.

French in UK: 'Brexit vote is clearly against foreigners'
The French Bookshop in London's Kensington. Photo: AFP

Spare a thought for the French people living in the UK right now. They didn't even get to vote.

Hollande: Brexit vote 'a grave test for Europe'
Photo: AFP

President Francois Hollande said on Friday that he already regrets the UK's "painful choice".

Brexit - Property
How Brexit could now scupper that dream move to France
A house of sale in La-Faute-sur-Mer (Vendée). Photo: Frank Perry/AFP

The dream move to France may have to be put on hold or simply dropped.

Brexit limbo: What happens next for Brits in France?
Brits won't be forced home, of course, but are forced to live in limbo for a while. Photo: AFP

So what happens now for Brits in France? Nothing too dramatic, but a lot of uncertainty amid legal limbo.

Brexpats on Brexit
Brexit: Life for Brits in France will get more complicated
Will France still be paradise for British expats after a Brexit? Photo: Simon/FlickR

After Britain voted to leave the EU, here's a look at what an EU legal expert had to say about the possible knock on effects for expats in France.

France up next? Le Pen hails Brexit and demands vote

Friday's historic Brexit vote has sent tremors across the English Channel, where the political class had mixed reactions to the news that the UK had voted to leave the EU.

Worried after Brexit? Here's how to become French
Could it be time to become a French citizen? Photo: AFP

After the UK voted for Brexit, many Brits in France will no doubt explore the possibility of becoming a French citizen. Here's some guidance.

Brits in France left stunned after UK votes for Brexit
Photo: AFP

After the UK voted to leave the EU and the pound was sent crashing, British nationals living in France have been left stunned and concerned about the future.

Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Ten reasons why you should think about becoming French
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Analysis & Opinion
Brexit: Life for Brits in France 'will get more complicated'
20 English words that 'should be banished' from French
Best Briehaviour: A guide to French cheese etiquette
And the best city in France for expats to live in is...?
Forget bikes, Paris is set to roll out scooter rentals
'We fear for our safety': French police feel the strain
Why Rennes (and not Paris) is the best city in France for expats to live
Why are the French losing appetite for baguettes?
Naturism booms in France as young eager to ditch clothes
Is working life better in London or Paris?
Dear Americans: Please come to Paris
It's official (kind of): French work fewest hours in EU
And the best football fans of Euro 2016 in France are?
Paris has wettest spring in 100 years and it's hitting morale
Police murders remind France of complexity of terror threat
IN PICTURES: Labour law protests in Paris turn ugly
Double murder just latest jihadist attack on French police and soldiers
French police appear unprepared for hooligan threat at Euro 2016
An A to Z guide of what to expect in France for Euro 2016
France bans matches from being shown on cafe terraces
Readers' views: 'If Brexit happens I'm becoming French just to stay in EU'
Should this be the new Metro map for Paris?
jobs available