Shaken and holding each other for comfort, five B.C. women are reeling this morning as they relive the experience of being under fire at a Las Vegas musical festival where at least 50 people were killed.
“It was surreal, I remember walking through the casinos after and people were gambling and laughing and having a great time because they didn’t know,” said Tiffany Beerling.
“I’ve never heard gunfire like that before in my life.”
Beerling, Amanda Quinlan, Dawn and Bobbi Doebert of Revelstoke, along with Tara Reiner from near Vernon arrived in Las Vegas on Friday for the three-day Route 91 Harvest Festival.
“There were so many stars we wanted to see,” said Beerling.
Country music musician Jason Aldean was performing Sunday night when the gunman opened fire across the street from inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.
“We were listening to the music when I heard what sounded like a few fire crackers,” said Beerling.
“Then it was a different sound, the popping of the gun, we were in shock, at first we kept partying, we thought it was fireworks, we didn’t know what was happening.”
Beerling said she realized something was wrong when a man they had met during the festival yelled out that they all needed to “get down.”
“We all got down in a big group, huddled together, on top of each other, everything we could do to get as low as we could. He tried to keep us calm, he wouldn’t let us move until the shots stopped,” said Beerling. “But, they didn’t stop, they just kept going and going.”
The group decided at that moment they had to go, they need to try to run to safety.
In the chaos they got separated.
“Three of us stayed together, Dawn, myself and Tara. We stayed close, we just ran. People were screaming,” said Beerling.
“We could still hear the shots, the shots were going, they went on for what felt like forever. It felt like it never stopped. People were screaming and running in different directions.”
Beerling saw people climbing fences, knocking over barriers, anything they could to escape.
Reiner said she saw blood everywhere and men carrying some injured women away. She saw a shooting victim lying on the ground.
Bobbi Doeber and Amanda Quinlan were separated from the group and spent time hiding under a car. They were taken in by a Las Vegas family near the airport who kept them safe until they were reunited with the group
“When they came back they had scratches all over them from trees and cars and bruises on them. They hid under a car for a very long time.”
Beerling’s group found an American woman who was working the festival. She was scared and lost and they took her with them back to the hotel room, she was still with them Monday morning.
Amidst the tragedy, Beerling said there were moments of humanity.
“It was amazing, random people saw us walking, saw us crying and asked if we were OK, made sure we could get to safety. People were helping people they did not know, making sure random people were ok,” said Beerling through tears.
She said the group is nervous to fly today, but want to get home to their families. They are set to leave Las Vegas at 1 p.m. and arrive home Monday evening.
As of 9 a.m. authorities said a gunman perched on the 32nd floor unleashed a hail of bullets on an outdoor country music festival below, killing at least 58 people and injuring more than 500.
It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.