Australian first responder caught up in Barcelona attack
AN AUSTRALIAN Metropolitan Fire Brigade Commander who was one of the first responders to the Bourke Street tragedy in Victoria was at the centre of Barcelona's terror attack.
Thirteen people have been confirmed killed and more than 100 injured, including two Melburnians, when a van was driven into crowds on the famed Las Ramblas tourist street.
MFB Commander Graeme O'Sullivan told the Herald Sun he heard the "horrific screams" of those trying to escape the attack.
"I was with my wife at a restaurant bar at about 5pm local time when we heard this rumbling sound. Then, we heard a number of loud thuds and screaming which turned out to be the sound of people getting hit".
Commander O'Sullivan was on holidays with his wife, who is also an MFB officer.
Their hotel went into lockdown and was about 15m away from the incident site.
"We then heard a number of gunshots ring out," he said.
"We could see a white van with heavy damage to the front. The front bumper was on the ground and people were running everywhere. There was a male victim laying on the ground who had obviously been hit by the van," he said.
"We've been told at least 16 people are dead and that men jumped out of the white van and began firing into crowds of people".
"We were also told that they took people hostage in nearby bars".
Commander O'Sullivan was a first responded to the Bourke St massacre and said the scenes were eerily similar.
"Although this incident has links to terrorism and Bourke St does not, the results are the same," he said.
"It was a little bit too close to home, it was very similar in a lot of ways to the Bourke St incident back in January," he said.
"The injuries people have suffered are horrific and the scenes are quite similar, it's just that this incident is of a larger scale".
"Obviously this time there is clearly links to terrorism ... but the result is still the same, to have a vehicle driven at speeds into crowds.
"Over here at the moment it's summer holidays, a very festive season, there is lots of large crowds of families of all ages, thousands of people, and everyone is just enjoying the festive time of year.
"It's just very sad that another one of these incidents has occurred and it's certainly causing a lot of havoc in the local area."