The Guardian reports: My son, said a visibly shaken American father, left his Sacramento home to travel abroad for the first time, as a “young man on an excursion to broaden his world view and have fun with his buddies”. Now, said Tony Sadler, he’ll be coming back “as France’s national hero”.
As two presidents, Barack Obama and François Hollande, yesterday poured praise on four men whose actions averted a bloodbath on the 3.17pm train from Amsterdam to Paris, with 550 passengers onboard, the details of what happened on the Thalys express 9364 emerged in shocking detail.
It was at 5.45pm, as the train crossed the Belgian border into northern France, that a 28-year-old French bank worker left his seat and tried to get into the toilet on coach 12. The door opened on a shirtless dark-haired man, in white trousers and trainers, who was holding a Kalashnikov across his bare chest. Inside his rucksack were nine full magazines of ammunition, holding 280 rounds, and several knives. Somewhere he also had a handgun.
Over the next few seconds there was chaos. A shot rang out, a French-American passenger fell forward in his seat, hit in the neck by a bullet from a handgun. Then came a terrifying “click, click, click” as the half-naked man held his AK-47 aloft, aiming an apparently temporarily jammed gun at occupants of the carriage. [Continue reading…]