Lithuanian witness at the scene of Nice attack: ‘The lorry speeded over people like a lawn mower’

AP / Scanpix

Kęstutis Bacevičius and his wife Roberta, who have been living in the south of France for two decades, was among the thousands of people who came to see Bastille Day fireworks on the Promenade des anglais in Nice which started at 10 PM and lasted for about 20 minutes on Thursday.

“Roberta and I sat down in an arbour, finished eating pop corn and were walking on the promenade, where all traffic was suspended, towards the city centre. It was chilly, I pulled Roberta aside, to a bus stop, so we could put on our jackets. That very moment, something flashed in front of my eyes and people started falling at our feet, almost on me. I turned around and I saw a lorry,” Bacevičius tells DELFI.

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He says it took him some time to realize what was happening. Minutes before, he had walked past garbage trucks and thought at first it was one of them. But he soon understood what he was witnessing was terrorism.

“We cowered and expected more to come – explosions or shooting. We ran towards the beach, everyone was running, we sat down on a flight of stairs to think what to do next. We didn’t hear any shots from the lorry that drove by us, I only heard some later, when we were walking away.”

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He says that the lorry “drove like a mower” across people without slowing down, which made it clear to Bacevičius it was a deliberate attack.

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“When we were at the bus stop, I was facing the other direction, my wife saw it better. I turned around and saw it drive away – it was speeding and bumping over people, as if across an uneven field, it drove over people at incredible speed,” Bacevičius recalls.

“The image is still in my head. All the most horrible photos in the media are from the place where we ourselves were at the time. We tried not to look at people’s bodies, my wife was nauseated, we were running without looking around.”

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The Lithuanian couple reached their home on foot. All the while they were afraid that the attack was not over. People around them were running and crying, cars on the streets were stopping to ask what was happening.

Bacevičius says he could not sleep afterwards. The Promenade des anglais is closed on Friday, he says, and there is no panic in the city.

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