Sandrine, civil party, describes the shock and the trauma

the court decides to release the CCTV footage

The Nice attack trial is entering a new phase: after the hearings of investigators, experts and trauma specialists, it is now time for the civil parties. In 4 minutes 17 seconds at the wheel of his 19 tons on the Promenade des Anglais, the terrorist left in his wake 86 dead, more than 300 injured and thousands of traumatized.

This Tuesday, September 20, the court heard the first two civil parties: the manager of a nightclub transformed into an emergency medical station, and then Sandrine, 21 years old at the time, who narrowly escaped death.

Sandrine’s voice is calm, but her hands keep writhing. That evening, after the fireworks, the student wants to go home, but her companion convinces her to have a drink with friends. ” Suddenly, a mass of people in front of me block me. I don’t understand why we step on each other, I look to the left and I see neither my companion nor his friends, I’m all alone “, she says.

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A gentleman running in the wrong direction yells: “it’s the truck, it’s the truck”, but it doesn’t tilt in my head. I sensed the danger, thought “attack” given the panic, but I saw parked trucks and I didn’t understand. Sandrine ends up jumping from the promenade onto the terrace of a restaurant below. Wounded, she takes refuge there, soon joined by a friend of her companion. ” I’m panicked, so I tell him improbable things, that I don’t have mutual insurance, that I lost my shoe. He ends up bringing me back my shoe, it calms me down a bit. »

For me, terrorists were shooting at us »

Crammed with others in a closet, she hears loud percussion noises, ” surely the truck that knocks over the candy stand “, she believes today. She describes the panic, fueled by rumors that will turn out to be false, of a shooting in old Nice, of a possible hostage-taking elsewhere. Up there, on the promenade, it’s still pulling, families join them. Sandrine urges her neighbor to stop grabbing her injured arm.

A little boy told me : “Shut up, we will all die because of you”, she remembers. So, we remained in silence, except for a little girl who prayed to the lord to please save us. It was only later, on a TV in the restaurant, that she realized the role of the truck. ” For me, terrorists were shooting at us “, she says. The fireman who will finally evacuate him whispers to him, as he crosses the promenade, to look at the sky. ” But I had the reflex to look where I had jumped, and I saw several people who died there. whispers the young woman.

From her minor physical injuries, she recovered quickly, but for three years, the post-traumatic symptoms were ” unlivable “says Sandrine. She says she’s getting better, even though she’s another person ” today.

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Five weeks of testimonials

These testimonies of civil parties will last five weeks. Out of more than 2,000 civil parties, some 300 chose to testify: survivors affected physically, psychologically, relatives of the disappeared. Among them, and this is a sad specificity of this attack, there are very many children. Fifteen miners were killed that day, dozens of others were injured or lost a loved one. A room has been made available in Nice to spare children who would like to bear witness to the additional difficulty of going to Paris.

Many interpreters were also called upon, some defendants need them, but above all, there are 39 nationalities among the civil parties.

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