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Australian actress hid inside cupboard to escape gunfire

November 27, 2008 14:00 IST

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An Australian TV actress, who was trapped inside Mumbai's Taj Hotel when terrorists went on a shooting spree, hid herself in a two-by-three metre cupboard for an hour to escape death.
    
Brooke Satchwell, former star of soap opera Neighbours, told a radio portal that she was inside the ground-floor toilets when the attack happened and "everyone just froze". "As I stepped into the bathroom you could hear machine-gun fire start up in the lobby," she told the radio portal. "People started locking themselves into the toilet cubicles, which clearly wasn't a very good idea. But we were trying to find somewhere to hide," she said.
    
Satchwell, along with her boyfriend and about eight other foreigners, has now been moved to another hotel in south
Mumbai, whose location was not disclosed for security reasons.
    
"I can't even get my leg dressed, we can't go to the airport, that's been bombed, we can't go to the police centres, they've been bombed," Satchwell's boyfriend told the Herald from the hotel.
    
Recalling her ordeal at the Taj Hotel, the actress told the portal that hotel staff directed the group into the service cupboard, where she waited for up to an hour, hearing  bursts of gunfire.
    
"Some of the hotel security came and ushered us very quickly down the corridor and across the lobby, clearly no one
had a very good idea of what happened ... or where we were meant to be heading at that stage," Satchwell said.
    
At least 20 Australians were in the nearby Oberoi hotel, which also came under attack, all of them members of a New
South Wales delegation organised by the Department of State and Regional Development.

Forty-nine-year-old  Australian Braid Gilbert Taylor was "brought dead" to St George's Hospital in South Mumbai late on Wednesday night.
    
Authorities at the hospital had no information as to from where the foreigner was brought. Taylor's body has been sent
for a post-mortem.
    
At least 100 people have been killed and over 300 injured so far in the multiple terror attacks across the financial
capital. Five star hotels, hospitals and Mumbai CST station were among the key targets.
    
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Meanwhile, an Australian bride, who had just moved to Mumbai, said the city was in chaos. Chloe Papazahariakis told the Nine Network that Mumbai was in "total lockdown".
    
"I've just moved to this beautiful city to marry my husband in four days and I've got about 20 friends here for
the wedding in the midst of all this chaos," she said. Papazahariakis was speaking from the restaurant where her reception was to be held. A nearby hospital had been bombed by terrorists, she said adding, "We just can't believe it."
    
"They are targeting every suburb in this city but the most tragic thing is that for the first time ever they are
targeting big-time foreigners and five-star hotels," Papazahariakis said.




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