• France's news in English
'I was ready to die': The Nice scooter hero speaks out
The scooter hero pulls along side the truck on the Promenade des Anglais. Photo: AFP

'I was ready to die': The Nice scooter hero speaks out

Ben McPartland · 21 Jul 2016, 14:17

Published: 21 Jul 2016 14:17 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The man, named only as Franck, was caught in a video chasing after truck driver Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel as he mowed down revellers on Nice's Promenade des Anglais on July 14th.

He was one of two passers-by who tried to stop the rampage that left 84 dead.

In his first interview since the massacre Franck told Nice Matin newspaper that he was ready to die in order to stop the carnage.

“We heard the cries and my wife said to me ‘stop something isn’t right’. The truck overtook me on the pavement,” said Franck.

“In my mind I had images of bodies flying everywhere. I immediately understood what was happening,” said the man who works at Nice airport.

Franck, who had gone down to the promenade with his wife to enjoy an ice cream, did not hesitate to act, fearful in the knowledge that his son was nearby in Place Massena.

He left his wife and sped off on his scooter.

“To catch up with the truck I had to slalom between the people, both the living and the dead. I was determined to go to the end, to do whatever it takes. I wanted to stop him at any price," he said.

“When I got level with the cabin, I asked myself a question ‘what are you going to do with your little scooter?’ So I just threw it against the truck." 

His attempts were broadcast on news channels across the world.

Franck then continued to run after the truck until he got level with the cabin again. He climbed up the steps to the cabin and began to hit the driver.

“I hit and hit and hit him again with all my strength. I had to use my left hand even though I am right handed," he said.

“I hit him in the face but he said nothing, he did not flinch. He had his gun in his hand and pointed it in my face. He pulled the trigger but it did not work.”

“I was ready to die.”

In the end he was hit on the head by the butt of the gun and fell from the truck to the road below.

Reports on the night of the massacre suggested the terrorist had an accomplice who was seen jumping from the truck, but it may well be that witnesses had seen the hero being beaten back and falling from the vehicle.

Story continues below…

Franck was questioned by police, “who naturally thought I was a terrorist” before being let go.

As the days passed the mystery of the fate of the man who became known as the “scooter hero” deepened with many presuming he had been killed in the chaos.

Thankfully he was one of the lucky ones who survived, although for his courageous efforts he did suffer a broken rib, bruises and a “small depression of his rib cage”.

The other hero of the night was a 31-year-old French crane driver called Alexander who also tried to halt the driver by climbing into his cabin.

He was also forced away when Lahouaiej Bouhlel pointed his gun in his face.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Jungle shacks set ablaze and torn down as camp razed
All photos: AFP

IN PICTURES: The razing of the Jungle has finally begun.

Frenchwoman finds WW1 grenade among her spuds
Photo: AFP

It could have been a very explosive family dinner.

Refugee crisis
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Photo: AFP

What does the future hold for the migrants of the Jungle? Can they work or claim social benefits or travel freely inside Europe?

Pampers nappies 'contain carcinogenics': French study
Photo: Robert Valencia/Flick

The substances in the nappies are meant to prevent skin irritation but are cancerous, the study concludes.

France to scrap special prison wings for dangerous jihadists
Photo: AFP

The experiment has been ditched.

Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
A model at the Pulp Fiction fashion show in Paris that represents society's diverse spectrum . Photo: AFP

Hold on, aren't the French all meant to be finely toned specimens with not an ounce of fat on them?

France poised to send bulldozers into Calais Jungle
Photo: AFP

As hundreds of migrants leave, the bulldozers are set to tear down the sprawling Calais shanty town on Tuesday.

UK to spend €40 million on securing Calais border
Photo: AFP

Britain spending big on security in Calais.

Millionaire Riviera hotel boss kidnapped in broad daylight
The city of Nice where the millionaire was bundled into a car infront of shocked onlookers. Photo: AFP

The millionaire head of a luxury hotel in the French Riviera resort of Cannes was kidnapped in Nice in front of shocked onlookers in the middle of the day on Monday.

Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available