A victim of the Flinders Street rampage was on the phone to his 13-year-old son when he was run over by a car deliberately ploughed into crowds outside the Melbourne train station.
Rohit Kaul was crossing the intersection on his way home from his job at Optus while chatting to his son Avi when the phone suddenly clattered to the ground.
The 45-year-old was thrown into the air and suffered a broken leg and fractured ribs, all while his traumatised son and wife Nataasha listened.
Suddenly, my husband’s phone fell down and we could hear loud noises and people screaming on the other side before the line went dead,’ she told The Indian Express.
‘We tried to call him on his mobile but there was no response. We soon got a call from a fellow Indian who said my husband was injured and was being taken to a hospital.’
Ms Kaul said Avi said ‘Mama, something is wrong’ and went into a panic when his father was suddenly cut off and could only hear chaos on the other end of the phone.
The Indian immigrant from New Delhi said the man who picked up the phone told her the driver deliberately sped up and drove into pedestrians crossing Flinders Street.
‘The driver was waiting for the red light and when people started crossing the road, he jumped the red light and crashed into them,’ she said.
Mr Kaul was rushed to The Alfred Hospital, where he had surgery on Friday morning and was in a stable condition.
‘I spoke to Rohit and he told me he was fine but he kept fainting. I’m thankful he has no major injuries,’ he wife told The Age.
Teenager Ethan Caruso narrowly escaped death as he was sideswiped by the speeding Suzuki Vitara after heroically pushing his friend out of the way.
The 17-year-old suffered foot, neck, shoulder and elbow injuries and was later released battered and bruised after being rushed to Royal Children’s Hospital.
‘Dad, I nearly died today,’ he said after picking up the phone when his panicked father Peter called him on Thursday night, before listening to his harrowing tale.
‘He saw people lying on the ground, not moving. He’s very shaken up, very traumatised but we’re really proud of him, he’s coping really well,’ Mr Caruso told The Age.
‘I think there was an angel looking after these kids yesterday. We feel really lucky it wasn’t worse.’
Ethan and Mr Kaul were some of 19 people injured in the incident, including the driver and an off-duty policeman who heroic wrestled him from the car where other officers arrested him.
Many more could have been injured or killed if the car hadn’t crashed into a tram stop bollard on Flinders Street and the intersection of Elizabether Street.
By midday on Friday 12 people were still in hospital with only one, an 80-year-old man, still in critical condition.
Five men, aged 25, 40, 43, 45 and 83 and six women, aged 25, 30, 35, 47 and 58, were among the victims and along with another three men and two women of unknown age.
Many were from overseas including citizens of South Korea, China, Italy, India, Venezuela, Ireland and New Zealand.
Saeed Noori, 32, the driver behind the wheel of the SUV with P-plates, arrived in Australia as a refugee in 2004 through a resettlement program.
‘He came to Australia as a refugee. He did not come with a people smuggler, he came through the appropriate refugee, the normal refugee programs,’ Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.
Speaking briefly to investigators on Thursday night as he lay in a hospital bed at St Vincent’s under police guard, the 32-year-old made a ‘number of utterances’ and ‘spoke about dreams and voices’.
‘But he also did attribute some of his actions to the poor treatment of Muslims,’ Acting Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said on Friday morning.
Commissioner Patton said Noori had a history of drug use and mental illness, stressing that investigators had not yet found any extremist or terrorist links to the horror rampage.
Noori was released from hospital on Friday afternoon and taken to Melbourne Police Station where detectives hope to formally interview him and potentially lay charges after that.
Witness described seeing the car hurtling towards the crowd, ploughing through people in its path and crashing into the pole.
‘It just mowed everybody down, people were flying everywhere. We heard thump, thump. People are running everywhere,’ one told radio station 3AW:
Dramatic footage then showed a number of injured pedestrians being treated by passersby as they wait for paramedics.
‘He has gone straight through the red light at pace and it was bang, bang, bang. It was just one after the other,’ another told the Herald Sun.
‘There were bodies on the ground and people running up to them – it was mayhem.’
Source: Daily Mail