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Crowd In Nice Was Watching Fireworks When A Truck Driver Attacked

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And let's hear now from a witness, a survivor of last night's attack in Nice. His name is Imad Dafaaoui. He is from Morocco. And as - with so many other people, he was in Nice as a tourist.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED MEN: Happy 14 of July.

INSKEEP: Some of the sounds from a video, which was taken just before this happened. Let's listen to what Dafaaoui said happened next.

IMAD DAFAAOUI: Last night, we were in Promenade des Anglais next to the beach. We were watching the fireworks there.

INSKEEP: What was that like?

DAFAAOUI: It was really, really crowded. There was lots of people. They were blocking even the streets because they knew it's going to be super crowded.

INSKEEP: And the fireworks go up there by the seaside?

DAFAAOUI: Exactly, yeah. And the attack was after the fireworks were done.

INSKEEP: So what was the situation? When did you begin to realize that something was going wrong?

DAFAAOUI: Well, we were taking pictures, just me and my friend after the fireworks were done. We kept taking videos of the area and everything until we heard people screaming from the back. So we looked around. We saw people running everywhere, and everyone is pushing each other. Then we realized that there was a truck behind them - a white truck, which is going on and in a fast way and crashing people around, just killing them. It was a bit horrific to see. I stayed shocked for five seconds. Then, I realized I had to run.

INSKEEP: Was the truck moving directly at you?

DAFAAOUI: It was a bit - in the beginning, it was a bit far from me. But my - the mistake I did is that I ran towards the beach. I had to run back in the wrong direction, so I did that mistake. I kept running until there was a bench blocking my way. So the truck was too close. So I realized I had to jump, if not, I'm going to be crashed, too. After I jumped over the bench, I found out that the truck completely smashed the bench next to me. So it was just around 20 centimeters between me and the bench.

INSKEEP: What did you see then?

DAFAAOUI: Then I just started running between the streets of Nice following people, while I saw everyone is running, so I just followed them. Then my friend actually lives next to Promenade des Anglais. So I went next to his house. And I kept waiting for him to come because we got separated there.

INSKEEP: And what happened to your friend?

DAFAAOUI: Actually, he just went on the wrong side in the other direction. So he's fine. We were fine.

INSKEEP: That's good. We have seen images suggesting that this truck left a trail of bodies of dead and wounded. Is that what you saw before you went away?

DAFAAOUI: Exactly. That's what exactly I saw because I went back. After meeting my friend next to his house, we went back. We were trying to help some people. But it was a bit - so gory. It was so gory.

INSKEEP: So what do you make of this?

DAFAAOUI: Well, it makes me think about - that I'm not safe anywhere.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Imad Dafaaoui is a student in Nice. This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.