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6.8. Recollections of participants in the events, collected from themedia
Written by Administrator   
, 21 2006

Former hostage Alla Pavlova

In the morning Inoticed that there was gas, so Ithought that the bandits were poisoning us, but Isaw that the Chechens were worried about it. My Chechen woman had fallen asleep, so Istarted to sneak out to the foyer. There was an explosion at this time, and Ireturned and pretended to be dead After a time a man in camouflage picked me up by my hair.

He told me to go to a room, and there Isaw those who had known enough to leave the hall. They had breathed less gas than the rest. We were later taken to a hospital, but there they would not admit us, saying that they did not know anything about why we were there. Then we were taken back. Near the DK they put us in a bus and took us Ilater found out to Hospital #13. The driver did not know where to drive to and was asking directions the whole time. This is how we traveled for about an hour and a half

From: Time of the People, November 2nd, 2002

Ambulance physician Dmitry

The chain of command did not approve this interview, but he could not remain silent because Dima bears some of the fault for the deaths of the Nord-Ost hostages. deaths. At his request, we will not give his surname.

Wed been on duty by the theatrical complex earlier, Dmitry says. But it had been clear since the previous night that there would be an assault. I wasnt supposed to be on duty, but they got me out of bed anyway. Our vehicles assembled on Volgograd Prospect. They had called up 20ambulances, and 10showed up. Right at 5:30 am they declared radio silence. There was no information. The convoy commanders ordered us to go to the theater and take away corpses. We couldnt get used to it

Just as soon as the order went out by radio, the convoy moved down

Melnikov Street
, but Dimas vehicle was pulled over by a policeman by the barricades. It turned out that the cop had not received orders to let ambulances through.

We waited there for ten minutes, Dmitry continues. Later there was a traffic jam. They hadnt managed to get rid of the construction vehicles theyd used to take down the barriers. There were already hostages lying by the entrance. A box of syringes and Nalaxone ampoules was nearby. Some man was shouting: Whoever knows how, start giving shots! We started tearing open packages and pulling out syringes. Anyone who knew how or didnt know how started giving shots: special forces soldiers, city rescue and MChS (Disasters Ministry) workers, even cops from the barricades. No one marked who had received shots. In our frenzy we injected some two or three times. These are fatal doses. There was remarkable chaos. No time for artificial respiration the building could blow up at any moment.

Only at this point did Dmitry find out by chance that a sleeping gas had poisoned the hostages.

Why didnt they warn us about the gas?

Right away the special forces soldiers loaded two unconscious hostages into his vehicle. The Gazelle van made its way through the traffic jam to Veterans Hospital #1 on Melnikov, the closest one, with about 500beds. The operational headquarters had set up on the first floor, and their vehicles were blocking the entrance to the admissions department. The stricken had to be unloaded right on the street.

The hospital was not prepared for such a heavy influx of patients, and the personnel could simply not cope. As a result, the hospital only admitted 120victims.

Meanwhile, the special forces and rescue workers were filling buses with hostages. Half of them were not breathing. They were loaded right onto the floor, stacked like cordwood. Who was alive or dead did not matter. The bus drivers were from out of town, and did not know where to take the hostages.

Im certain that many died in route from Nalaxone overdoses, and from asphyxia, says Dmitry.

No one met the first ambulance when it arrived at Sklif (the Sklifosovsky Institute). A security guard and the duty physician came outside, and for 15minutes they decided where they should send an injured woman. Sklif did not arose itself to action for a half hour, then doctors and orderlies began running out. There were not enough gurneys to unload the injured, however, and then something strange happened: a woman who had been certified dead suddenly woke up. It was not a sight for the faint of heart.

Certainly, there could have been less dead, says Dmitry. There should have been more ambulances and doctors, not bulldozers and BTRs (armored fighting vehicles). We werent ready for the living.

We telephoned the administrators at the Sklifosovsky Emergency Medical Research Facility. Deputy Chief Physician Vladimir Shevchuk refused to comment on the situation. He referred us to the city health departments press service, whose information stated that the rescue and evacuation had run smoothly.

From: Interlocutor, November 10th, 2002

Vadim Mikhailov, section chief of Digger Rescue

To be honest, Ididnt see anyone with gunshot wounds. During the evacuation Inoticed two or three dead hostages. One fellow was saved literally in the nick of time: we look, and theres a body lying on the steps by the building, its head covered by a bomber jacket, apparently one of the rescuers had dragged him from the building and saw that the fellow was dead, and left him on the porch. But we got a pulse sort of very weak beats, so we started pumping the heck out of the poor devil!

From Moskovsky Komsomolets, October 28th, 2002

Yuri Snegirev

Two buses were in line among the ambulances at Sklifosovsky. Orderlies with gurneys gathered around them. They unloaded half-undressed men and women and brought then into the admissions department. (The victims) were rolling their heads and raving. When the buses were done unloading, they drove up to the next set if black metal doors. I was standing opposite and saw fallen bodies in the aisles of the buses. Those did not require stretchers. The orderlies grabbed the dead by the arms or legs and carried them to a special area. A police barricade was set up around the buses. I was inside the cordon and tried to photograph the unloading of the bodies. Before my very eyes, a young woman who they had though was dead rolled her head. Someone shouted shes alive and an orderly crossed himself.

The woman was put on a gurney and taken to admissions. I wont rule out that this was not the only case among the written-off hostages.

From Komsomolskaya Pravda, October 29th, 2002

Relief drivers Alexander Sharubko, Sergey Korobov, Igor Stepanov

I worked for three days as a barrier at headquarters, and also took veterans from the nearby hospital. But on Saturday morning Icarried hostages. Just a soon as Igot to the theater, recalls Alexander Sharubko, I understood immediately that thered be a problem with traffic. The highway cops had hardly cleared any of the passages. I had to hang out the window and yell.

It had been worse on Thursday, when the buses started evacuating veterans from the hospital. A lot of old Icarus buses, which are not very nimble, were in the group.

We couldnt drive anywhere, though by that night they had gotten rid of some of them. Either way there were still too many, says the driver. Then there were other problems at the hospitals where we brought the veterans. Their entrances and lots were just not set up for buses. No way to drive in or turn around.

For those buses that had left Dubrovka, the route back to their duty site was even more complicated.

We were stuck for an hour on Volgograd and Proletariat to get back, recounts Sergey Korobov. The embassy cars were a real bother. The highway cops didnt touch those black Mercedes and their flags, and they would park right in the middle of the throughway.

On Saturday at 6 in the morning, the drivers heard the first shots. Its started! The women auditors, who during the three days were in charge of the bus drivers, confirmed this.

At first they ran to all the vehicles. They said to warm them up and form up right away, Sergey recalls.

They chased out the police officers that were warming themselves up inside the buses.

Thank God Ifilled up just before the assault. For three days the engine had been working continuously they had used up all their diesel. No one got fuel on the sport, you had to go on your on to fill up.

The ambulances were the first to rush over to the DK central entrance.

They told us that wed follow the ambulances, but there were so many that we even had to pull back, recalls driver Igor Stepanov. Then they gave us the order. It wasnt possible to drive right up to the porch where people were lying, so they sent us over to the side. Everyone was carrying people: special forces and fellows in yellow jackets, Ilater found out that they were rescue workers. I was almost the last one in the convoy. When people had been put into seats and aisle, a plainclothes cop ran over and said to follow the ambulances. I already knew the route, to the Sklifosovsky.

According to Igor, there was a hitch at Sklif. At first three buses stopped right at the doors where there were people with gurneys. The drivers opened the doors, but no one began to bring out the hostages there was not enough help. The first order of business was unloading the ambulances, while later came the buses turn.

I had no idea who Ihad brought, says Igor, making a helpless gesture. They all lay there like the dead. No one moaned or moved. Of course, Id like to believe that Id brought living people

From: Komsomolskaya Pravda, November 5th, 2002

 
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