'I thought she was hit': Vancouverites recount fleeing Las Vegas mass shooting
Published Monday, October 2, 2017 2:07PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 3, 2017 7:52AM PDT
A young Vancouverite attending the Las Vegas concert where at least 59 people were killed by a sniper Sunday night says he and his girlfriend were forced to run for their lives when bullets started flying.
Quinn Mell-Cobb and Madison Melford were towards the back of the grounds for the Route 91 Harvest Festival when they realized people were being shot.
"It sounded like at least 100 gunshots," Mell-Cobb told CTV Vancouver Monday morning from his hotel room.
Mell-Cobb said he momentarily froze when he saw people all around him dropping to the ground. But instincts kicked in and he jumped on top of his girlfriend to protect her.
"I thought she was hit," he said. "I dived on top of her, tried to shield her head and shield her from what was going on."
Once the sound of bullets halted, they looked up to see a stampede of concert-goers running in their direction.
The couple jumped up and joined the thousands of people running away from the stage, and didn't stop until they reached their hotel, the MGM Grand, a few blocks away.
Amid reports that dozens of people were injured in the crush of people trying to leave the festival, Mell-Cobb said he was impressed by how people came together to help each other.
"I didn't see anyone trampled. People were holding hands. It was a giant group of us, running back," he said.
Shaken but unharmed, the couple's focus now is getting back to British Columbia and getting back to their loved ones.
"Situations like this… You don't think you're ever going to be in one," he said. You see it on TV and you see it on a movie and then the real thing happens and it's sobering."
At least 527 people were reported injured in the mass shooting, which is now considered the worst in modern U.S. history.
Three Canadians are dead, among them 23-year-old B.C. mechanic Jordan McIldoon.
Las Vegas passengers arriving at the Vancouver International Airport Monday recounted a similar terrifying scene on the Las Vegas strip.
"The first 10 minutes was just running," said Ryan Bedrosian, adding that people around him thought the shooter was on the ground, not on the 32nd floor of a hotel room.
"Just running as fast as you can, as hard as you can for your life. That was the scariest part."
Lauren MacKay said she still felt like she was in shock.
"It's a disbelief. Like… This happened," she said.
Friends and relatives of Canadian citizens known to be in the area to contact the Global Affairs Emergency Watch and Response Centre at 1-800-387-3124 or email email@example.com.
The federal government’s travel and tourism information branch tweeted information about resources, including a phone number for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for individuals impacted by the shooting (1-866-535-5654), directions to a family reunification centre, and a warning about diverted flights at McCarran International Airport.