A family from Ballyclare have been left “very frightened” after being caught up in Thursday night’s terror attack in Nice.
Zoe and Andrew Tisdale and their children, Molly (11) and Finn (9) had been enjoying a relaxing evening on the Promenade des Anglais before the traumatic events unfolded.
The incident, which happened at around 11pm local time, saw a lorry plough into crowds of people as they enjoyed celebrations to mark Bastille Day - France’s national day.
More than 80 people died in the attack, while dozens more were injured. The driver of the vehicle, a French-Tunisian man, was shot dead by police.
Speaking to the Times, Zoe said: “We had been watching the fireworks display for Bastille Day at the beach. We came back up onto the promenade and had just crossed the road when all of a sudden we heard bangs and people started shouting and screaming.
“We didn’t know at this stage what was happening. We were about half a mile away from Hotel Negresco. We basically just ran away from the promenade and just followed all the crowds.
“People were shouting and crying and it was a very scary experience for the children.”
Zoe, who plays for Mossley Ladies Hockey Club, added: “We didn’t actually know what was happening. We didn’t see the lorry, we just heard the bangs. Our children kept asking ‘mummy what’s wrong?’ I just had to say that I thought something bad had happened and that we needed to get back to the apartment - it was very distressing for them.
“We knew with everyone running that something really bad had happened so we just tried to get away as quickly as possible.”
The family, who were meant to be in France until Tuesday, have not left their apartment today as they have been left very shaken by the ordeal. They are eager to get home and are trying to arrange an earlier return flight.
Following the attacks, Zoe posted a comment on Facebook to let everyone know that her and the rest of her family were safe.
She said: “Me, Andy and the kids have been caught up in the attack in Nice. We were watching the fireworks and then everyone started screaming and running. Most frightening experience of our lives. Just to let everyone know that we are all shaken up, but we are safe now in our apartment. Feeling very thankful right now. X.”
Zoe said the attack would not deter her from returning to France, but that she wouldn’t visit during a public celebration again.
Zoe, who works as a classroom assistant, added: “Obviously this attack took place during Bastille Day and I think I’d be a bit worried to come back again during that time in case it happened again. The children have said that they don’t want to come back to Nice. It was their first time here and it was a shame that this has happened. I wouldn’t like to say that we would never come back to France because I really enjoy it.”