My Mumbai nightmare
PUBLISHED: 09:00 05 December 2008 | UPDATED: 14:44 09 April 2010
A LYMPSTONE musician and father of two was caught up in the Mumbai terrorist attacks watching in horror as the siege unfolded just metres from his hotel. Brian Northcott, conductor for the Exmouth Choral Society and the Exeter Symphony Orchestra, told
A LYMPSTONE musician and father of two was caught up in the Mumbai terrorist attacks - watching in horror as the siege unfolded just metres from his hotel. Brian Northcott, conductor for the Exmouth Choral Society and the Exeter Symphony Orchestra, told the Journal how armed soldiers barricaded hotels as the threat heightened. The 64-year-old had arrived in the city a few weeks earlier, as part of an international examination board adjudicating 1,500 music students. Mr Northcott, who still remains in Mumbai, was in the thick of the trouble on the night of Wednesday, November 26, as armed men laid siege to the city. Gunmen surrounded the city's Taj Mahal Palace and other major buildings - killing more than 100 people and injuring many more. In the first hours of the three-day siege, Mr Northcott's hotel, the Ramada Plaza, was thought to be surrounded by armed terrorists - terrifying his family back home and leading the conductor to prepare to barricade himself in his bedroom. He said: "At one point, armed soldiers and police surrounded the neighbouring Marriott Hotel with barricades, preparing for an attack - I didn't know what was going on apart from what I could see on the news. "The trouble was definitely targeted at tourists. The terrorists asked people if they were English or American and we heard that, if they were French or Italian, they were let go straight away." Speaking from India, he told the Journal of his horror as the siege unfolded, watching Indian troops stake out buildings. He also spoke of the eerie quiet hitting a city that is one of the busiest in the world. His wife, Alison, 46, of Exmouth Road, said: "My son Richard, 19, and Naomi, 17, were very concerned in the first 24 hours, but we got in touch with Brian straight away and knew he was ok." Mr Northcott will now be moving into the Taj President Hotel - just behind one of the bullet-riddled hotels. He said he would not be put off visiting the country again. "The Indian people are some of the nicest I have met," said Mr Northcott, who will be home by December 20.
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