Woman gave gripping account about massacre on Facebook post that went viral
Isobel Bowdery talks with Anderson Cooper about a horrific scene at Paris venue
As many continue to mourn the tragedy of the Paris attacks, one survivor has shed light on how that horrific night unfolded.
Isobel Bowdery, a 22-year-old graduate from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, shared a firsthand account of what the scene was like in the Bataclan concert hall on Friday in a Facebook post that has since drawn about 3 million likes. (It’s no longer viewable to the public.)
In her post, Bowdery says the evening started off like any ordinary night at a fun rock concert. When the attackers came through the front entrance of the Bataclan, she says, at first everyone in the crowd thought it was part of the act.
But that moment of confusion quickly gave way to terror.
“It wasn’t just a terrorist attack, it was a massacre,” she writes.
In her post, Bowdery reflects on the crowd being surrounded by a spray of bullets.
“The way they meticulously aimed at shot people around the standing area I was in the center of without any consideration for human life. It didn’t feel real,” she writes.
Through the chaos, Bowdery says she managed to stay alive by pretending to play dead for more than an hour, “holding my breath and trying not to move.”
Bowdery spoke on Wednesday to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, about how she handled those tense moments: “It was important that if I was going to die, if the next bullet was for me, then I left saying I love you. So I said it to every single person I’ve ever loved. And in that way it felt OK to die, because I had love in my heart.”
She also spoke about the terrorists.
“I didn’t want their horrible actions to determine the end of my life,” Bowdery told Cooper. “I didn’t want them to win. I wanted the people I loved to win, and to know they blessed me with an incredible life.”
Bowdery’s bleak online account ends with her thanking police and those who helped survivors after the tragic evening claimed about 80 lives in the concert hall alone.
“The lives of many were forever changed and it is up to us to be better people,” she writes in the Facebook post. “To live lives that the innocent victims of this tragedy dreamed about but sadly will now never be able to fulfill.”
After Bowdery’s account went viral, several fake accounts using her name cropped up on Facebook. Many of them were critical about how much media coverage the Paris attacks was getting.
Some of those fake pages appear to have been removed from the social media site.
CNN’s Henry Hanks contributed to this story.