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'A Close Encounter With Death': Surviving the Bataclan Massacre

by George Itzhak /

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Denys Plaud arrived at the Bataclan concert hall in at 7:30 p.m. Friday night, eager to see one of his favorite bands, the Eagles of Death Metal.

Two hours into the sold-out show, he says, the mood in the theater was jovial.

Then, he heard a noise that he says sounded like a firecracker. Screams followed and Plaud knew something was wrong.

Startled, Plaud ran to a nearby staircase and barricaded himself in a small room with about 15 other people. They blockaded the door with a refrigerator, isolating themselves from the attackers outside.

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  Kim Cornett/NBC News

The next three hours, Plaud told NBC New’s Lester Holt, that he spent in agony with the others in that room “felt like it would last forever.”

As Plaud recalled the events of Friday night, he said that he was still astounded by the “remarkable” compassion that strangers displayed in the most frightful moments of their lives. One injured woman, for example, had what appeared to be gunshots wounds to her stomach and laid down on the ground as Plaud and others tried to stop her bleeding with a few handkerchiefs.

When police stormed the concert hall after midnight, killing the attackers, they evacuated Paul and the others in succession.

As they marched out, Plaud says that they were instructed to look straight ahead, but Plaud’s vision was flooded on all sides with what he calls “an unimaginable massacre” — blood, bodies, and even brain fragments scattered everywhere.

Throughout his ordeal, Plaud says he was afraid he wouldn’t make it out alive and even began to accept his premature death.

“I made a close encounter with death,” said Plaud. "I will not say I’m used to death, but I’ve got a little experience of that.”

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