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'Will never forget those 15-20 minutes': Kolkata couple who escaped Sydney mall attack recount horror

Bengali couple Sairindhri Ghoshal and Debashis Chakrabarty narrowly escaped a knife attack at a Sydney mall, where six people died. Recalling the terror, Sairindhri, known as Shoi, described hiding in the store as chaos erupted. Physically unharmed but emotionally drained, they seek solace after the ordeal. The assailant, Joel Cauchi, had mental health issues.

'Will never forget those 15-20 minutes': Kolkata couple who escaped Sydney mall attack recount horror vkp
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First Published Apr 15, 2024, 3:13 PM IST

A Bengali couple from Kolkata, Sairindhri Ghoshal and Debashis Chakrabarty, narrowly escaped a tragic knife attack at a Sydney mall over the weekend, leaving six people dead. Recalling the terrifying ordeal, Sairindhri, also known as Shoi, described the panic they felt while hiding in the store.

"It's hard to put into words how difficult those moments were for us," said Shoi. "When the chaos erupted and people rushed into the store, our instinct was to follow the crowd. But as we made our way to the back room, we heard screams of someone attacking people just outside. Our only thought was to stay hidden until the police arrived, and thankfully, the store employees helped us stay safe and informed the authorities", they quoted in an interview with TOI.

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The incident, which occurred just a day before the Bengali New Year, has left the couple, along with their family and friends, in a state of shock. Despite being physically unharmed, they remain emotionally exhausted from the events of that day and the constant inquiries from concerned loved ones.

"We're physically okay now, but mentally, it's been tough," Shoi shared. "Having to recount the ordeal over and over again to family and friends has been draining. We're still trying to come to terms with what happened."

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Shoi and Debashis were among the shoppers at the Westfield shopping centre when a man embarked on a stabbing spree, resulting in six fatalities before he was shot dead by the police. The couple sought refuge in a storeroom, hiding behind cardboard boxes until they were safely escorted out by store employees.

"The 15-20 minutes we spent hiding felt like an eternity," Shoi recalled. "But once we were finally out in the open, breathing the fresh air, it was a feeling of immense relief." Both Shoi and Debashis work in Sydney, having moved there in early 2020. The assailant, identified as Joel Cauchi, reportedly had mental health issues, with authorities confirming that the incident was not linked to terrorism.

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