Teens evade siege

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Teens evade siege

Wonthaggi teenagers Christopher Leaver and Coral Gordon are counting their blessings.
The pair avoided the infamous Sydney siege by just 20 minutes last Monday, December 15.
A sole gunman claimed the lives of two innocent victims and held 17 people hostage. The 17 hour conflict was not resolved until 2am on the Tuesday.
On Sunday night, they had walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and wandered through Martin Place – the scene of the siege the next day. By Monday morning, the mood had escalated to panic and the area was cordoned off.
“I was shocked,” Christopher said.
“I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. It was pretty scary.”
After spending several days in the city’s CBD, the 19 year olds were set to head home on the Monday night with one final spot they wanted to visit – the popular Lindt cafe in Martin Place where the gunman held hostages.
“We had planned to go to the cafe early because we had to check out of our hotel at 10am,” Christopher said.
“We didn’t leave until after checkout, took a few wrong turns and when we finally got to Martin Place there were police everywhere.”
Police urged the couple on.
“We didn’t know what was happening and we just wanted a hot chocolate,” Christopher said.
“We went to Westfield, where we worked out what was going on.”
A friend called to alert Christopher of the hostage situation in the cafe and he searched the internet for news of the incident.
“I felt pretty uncomfortable and insecure,” Coral said.
“We were told to get out of populated areas. All the trains and buses had been diverted in the city and there were lots of police on patrol.
“Later on we heard there were more bombs located around the city and we wanted to get out.”
Without public transport, the pair was unable to get to the airport. Concerned for their safety, they walked three hours to the airport to ensure they would make their flight home.
“Despite what was happening, the people in the city were acting very calm,” Christopher said.
“Everyone was just gradually making their way out of the city.”
They were thrilled their flight was not cancelled but their flight path was modified to avoid flying directly over the city.
Christopher said they both felt incredibly grateful they were running late. Coral followed the news closely after their encounter, trying to work out what the gunman’s intentions had been.
“The outcome was really sad. You think everyone will get out safe but this time it wasn’t the case,” she said.
Christopher was relieved the ordeal was over and felt he learnt to appreciate things more after the experience.
“I’m so grateful we weren’t involved,” he said.
“I’ve very thankful for the extra 20 minutes it took for us to get there.”

Thankful: Wonthaggi’s Christopher Leaver and Coral Gordon are happy to be home after narrowly avoiding involvement in the horrific Sydney siege at Martin Place on Monday, December 15.

Thankful: Wonthaggi’s Christopher Leaver and Coral Gordon are happy to be home after narrowly avoiding involvement in the horrific Sydney siege at Martin Place on Monday, December 15.

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Posted by on Dec 23 2014. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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