Muffled tears in a frozen room: strong emotion at the broadcast of unpublished videos from the High Club on the evening of the July 14 attack in Nice

Muffled tears in a frozen room: strong emotion at the broadcast of unpublished videos from the High Club on the evening of the July 14 attack in Nice
Muffled tears in a frozen room: strong emotion at the broadcast of unpublished videos from the High Club on the evening of the July 14 attack in Nice

“These are shocking images. I prefer that minors not attend them.” Christophe Petiteau, the benevolent president of the special criminal court of Paris, sets the tone from the outset this Thursday morning. Second day of testimony for the civil parties, at the appeal trial of the 2016 attack in Nice. It begins with a painful moment: the broadcast of previously unseen videos filmed by the High Club’s video surveillance cameras. The emblematic nightclub on the Promenade des Anglais was transformed into an advanced medical post on the evening of July 14.

“I ask everyone to close their phones and computers, to avoid possible shootings”, insists President Petiteau. We are certainly far from the ultra violence of the images of the truck mowing down the crowd, projected last Friday. But the deafening silence of these four short videos will freeze the courtroom.

Video 1: shock and astonishment

The doors of the High Club, at 45 Promenade des Anglais. We see the first families approaching with children. Two young people in shorts arrive in turn. The first rolls on the ground. The second holds his head in his hands. They both hug, sharing their astonishment. In the “major trials” room, we can hear the first muffled tears.

Video 2: help in the face of an emergency

The firefighters are in place. A few moments earlier, Jérôme and Gérald Calatraba made the High Club available to welcome the victims. A bar table is placed on the sidewalk to ensure welcome. Firefighters go to the front with their emergency equipment. Some are hurrying, a sign of the growing urgency. A first victim is evacuated on a stretcher. How many will go through the “High” that night? Even today, Gérald Calatraba ignores it. “A lot…”

Video 3: distress instead of celebration

This time, it’s a crowd of rescuers who rush to the doors of the High Club, where dozens of young night owls usually wait. A firefighter holds a young victim in his arms, in a seated position. In his testimony, Jérôme Calatraba will mention “people on the ground”, “moans”. And this man who begs him to be able to stay, to watch over the bodies of his daughter and his nephew.

Video 4: The Race for Life

Inside view. Ballet of first aiders in the hall. The back room accommodates stabilized victims. The floor, the dead. “The first person to arrive on the video was stopping [cardio-respiratoire]. We tried to ventilate it…sighs Jérôme Calatraba. We did what they could, as citizens.” “You did a lot”, underlines the president. Eight years later, Jérôme Calatraba can no longer bear to come to the Prom’. “However, this walk is beautiful. How I loved it…”

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