An Irchester man has told how he ‘feared for his life’ as he took cover with about 20 other people during last Friday’s terror attack which left dozens of tourists dead.
Graeme Scott, 43, was staying at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel in the beach resort Sousse after flying to Tunisia last Sunday, June 21, with his mum and dad, Jen and Sid, and cousin Karl.
The family had been due to return to the UK on Sunday but flew back a day early on Saturday after the terrifying attack.
Mr Scott said he and his parents were sunbathing next to the hotel pool when they heard the gunfire start.
He added: “My dad said it sounded like firecrackers but I realised straight away it was a gun and said we needed to get inside.
“We went into the hotel foyer and I started to walk towards the front of the building and I could hear the gunfire getting louder. I turned around and saw that my parents were being led through a door into a corridor.
“I followed them and a woman was talking to my mum, telling her to keep breathing and to stay calm.”
Mr Scott said he and his parents were part of a group of about 20 people in all who were locked in a cellar room of the hotel.
He added: “We could still hear gunfire outside.
“One lady there urged us to start praying and, as I am in the Salvation Army, that’s what I did.
“There were all sorts of things going through my head. I was fearing for our lives and our safety.”
Eventually, after about an hour, Tunisian police officers arrived and led the group back to the hotel foyer and told the tourists to return to their rooms. The family was reunited with Graeme’s cousin Karl, who had taken shelter in a different part of the hotel.
After the ordeal, Mr Scott said the whole family just wanted to return home.
He said: “Seeing the bodies outside, covered up, and the blood was quite traumatic and brought it home to us.
“There has been an awful lot to deal with and Thompson’s, the holiday firm, have offered us counselling.
“We feel terrible for those who lost loved ones and just feel so lucky that we were not hurt.
“I have been watching the television and media coverage and recognise some of the faces of people who were killed from seeing them in the hotel. One of the girls who was killed had been sat on a table next to us in the bar a few days earlier.”
Mr Scott said the flight back to the UK was very subdued, and said there were cheers and applause when the announcement was made that the plane was about to land at Gatwick.
He added: “I think people finally felt safe and were relieved.”
The family have stayed in the same hotel on four previous occasions. This year’s visit was their fifth to the Imperial Marhaba.
Mr Scott works at Wellingborough Vauxhall dealers York Ward and Rowlatt. He is also a treasurer with the Rushden branch of the Salvation Army.