The van driver died in front of us: Steve Davis

Published: Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 14:48 [IST]
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OZ umpire stunned by terror attack

Lahore: Australian cricket umpire Steve Davis who narrowly escaped from the gun men attack in Lahore on Tuesday was not yet recovered from the shocking incident.

"It was terrible. The van driver died in front of us. I am lost for words," stunned Australian cricket umpire Steve Davis said Morning Herald.

Sri Lanka's cricket side were on the team bus, all thoughts trained on the third day of their second Test against Pakistan in Lahore, when an explosion shattered the morning calm.

Masked attackers, creeping through trees, then opened fire in a brazen gun and grenade attack that left eight people dead and wounded six members of the squad.

For 15 minutes, the expensive business and commercial district of Liberty Square, with its designer boutiques and smart offices, was raked by bullets as Pakistani security forces and the attackers exchanged fire.

Television umpire Nadeem Ghori and Davis were travelling with other Test umpires just behind the Sri Lankan team when the bullets suddenly rang out.

"Our bus driver Mohammad Zafar was hit in the stomach and died on the spot," Ghori told reporters. "The firing continued for 15 minutes. It was shocking."

Television footage showed a number of gunmen, wearing backpacks and some in sports trainers, creeping nimbly behind bushes, crouching to aim their weapons and then running onto the next target.

Blood stained the front seats of a vehicle used by Pakistan's elite force, the van raked with gunfire with its wheels shot up, its plastic steering wheel cover damaged and radio system disabled by bullets, said an eyewitness.

Crystals of broken glass littered the road. Bullet holes tore through the windscreen of another vehicle and a white car was shown smashed headlong into the roundabout, with nervous security officers guarding the site.

An AFP correspondent found and handed over empty rifle magazines dropped by the gunmen in a side street after they fled.

Australian freelance cameraman Tony Bennett was at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore when "we heard a bomb go off, rapid rounds of machine gun fire outside the ground, small arms fire."

"Next thing we knew, the Sri Lankan team bus rolls up being sprayed by bullets," he said. "Players (were) getting carried into the dressing room."

Gavin Scovell, director for Australia's Ten Sports television channel, also witnessed the shooting.

"I could see a few wounds but they weren't panicking, they were very calm," he said of the players.

"With all respect to them, it must have been a terrifying experience for them."

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