• 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
Saudi princess 'told guard to kill Paris decorator'
Photo: Eurovizion/Flickr

"You have to kill this dog, he doesn't deserve to live," the princess allegedly said.

Paying for sex in France: Has the new law been effective?

Around 40 sex buyers are caught each month across the whole of France. Does that sound like much?

Only in France: 'Drive slowly - grape juice on the roads'
Photo: Rexness/Flickr

You know you're in France when...

France gives lift off to tough new drone laws
Photo: AFP

Time to crack down on drones, say French lawmakers.

Bienvenue en France: France cuts red tape for UK firms
Photo: AFP

France is ready to roll out the red carpet for UK firms quitting Britain because of Brexit fears.

VIDEO: Is life on a French café terrace really this bad?
Photo: Canal Plus

Bird poo, bums and butts: Is life on les terraces really as bad as this?

'Five terror plots thwarted' on Riviera since Nice attack
A police boat patrols the waters off the beach in Nice during the summer. Photo: AFP

Authorities in Nice say five potentially deadly terror plots on the French Riviera have been foiled since the Bastille Day truck attack in the resort.

French firefighters calendar to provoke global palpitations
Photo: Fred Goudon

Warning: Some readers may suffer palpitations, sweats or other side-effects when reading this story.

Why Paris beach festival could be sand-free in future
Photo: AFP

Is a beach with no sand still a beach?

Lost without translation: The struggles of Calais migrants
Communication problems in the Calais jungle camp. Photo: AFP

So many languages are spoken in the Calais jungle migrant camp but French is rarely heard.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The crazy French writing phrases you can't get your head around
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
France among Europe's priciest for train travel
jobs available