Christchurch terror attack witness hid behind table as gunman shot dead worshippers

A man who hid behind a table as a gunman murdered worshippers during Friday prayers at a mosque in New Zealand has told ITV News how he saw his friends shot in front of him.

Shoaib Gani crawled to safety after the gunman stormed Linwood Masjid in a suburb of Christchurch in an apparently coordinated terror attack across two mosques in the city.

Mr Gani said worshippers continued to pray despite hearing multiple gunshots from outside the mosque, only breaking prayer when people began dropping dead from bullets fired through the window.

"Then I realised that something was happening. I dropped to the floor and started to crawl towards the corner," he told ITV News.

Police escort men from a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand. Credit: AP

"I saw people getting shot.. there was blood everywhere.

"I crawled towards the corner, hoping I won't catch a bullet."

Mr Gani managed to crawl to safety behind a table where he tried to call his family in India. But no-one picked up.

Instead he phoned the police and ambulance as the carnage unfolded in front of him.

He saw a friend shot and his former boss hit in the shoulder with a bullet.

"I can't tell you how I felt," he said. "It was really horrific. I'm traumatised. I can't tell you exactly how I feel right now.

"I'm just happy to be safe and alive."

Mr Gani was still on the floor when the police SWAT team arrived, emerging from his safe place to a scene of devastation.

Mr Gani is in New Zealand as a student and has no family there. He said once police had allowed worshippers to leave, he could not do "anything but go home and sleep".

He said he had always felt safe in New Zealand since arriving in July 2018, describing the people as "so peaceful".

"We never saw this coming," he said.

At least 49 people were killed in the attack and 48 others injured in the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch.

Seven people were killed at mosque in Linwood where Mr Gani was worshipping.

Police have arrested three men and a woman in connection with the terror attack and have charged a man with murder.