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S African commandos save lives at Taj Hotel

Press Trust Of India
Nov 29, 2008 at 02:52am IST

Mumbai: The looming danger while six South African commandos were having dinner at a restaurant when terrorists struck Taj Mahal hotel came as a sudden challenge and they handled it with aplomb saving scores of persons from possible threat.

The lives of 150 fellow guests were saved by the commandos through their presence of mind and skills to handle pressure situations.

The commandos accompanying the South African cricket team, who had come to participate the now-cancelled Champions League were at the hotel's top floor restaurant 'Souk' and quickly escorted all the 150 diners through the

EASING PRESSURE: The South African commandoes quickly escorted all the 150 diners through the fire exit gate before any harms can befall on them.

fire exit gate before any harms can befall on them.

"We were having dinner. When we heard the gun fire, we were told that two gangs were fighting in the lobby. We were particularly perturbed," a member of the South African commando team, Bob Nichols, said.

Nichols said on hearing of the sound of an explosion they sensed it was a terror attack and saw the terrorists were running around the hotel firing indiscriminately and exploding grenades.

"We realised that the area is not secured. We imagined that there is a good possibility that they (terrorists) may try to make their way to the top of the building where we are," he said.

Nichols said the team, after gathering information as much as they could from outside, decided to secure the area themselves.

"As there are a lots of glass (in the restaurant), it was difficult to secure. We found a conference room next door where there were lots of people. So we moved everybody from the restaurant to the conference room. We barricaded

ourselves.

"We used whatever we could to block the doors, kept everybody away from the windows. We also told everybody who we were and explained them what we were doing," he said.

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