'I've Called all the Hospitals. No One Has an Answer...'

Published: 15th November 2015 09:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th November 2015 09:10 AM   |  A+A-

Amid the scores of names and faces, accompanied by confused and anguished messages, one thing stands out: how young they are.

Where in past disasters and mass atrocities desperate loved ones pinned cards to lampposts and windows hoping for news of the missing, this time they took their search to the world through social media.

A stream of messages on Twitter, grouped under the tag #rechercheParis (meaning "search Paris"), has taken the place of an official list of the missing.

In the hours after the attacks it swelled with names and pictures of brothers, sisters, girlfriends and boyfriends, not seen since heading off for a night out

in Paris. Most are the faces of students and young professionals from France and elsewhere.

The youngest listed was a girl of just 17.

In a few cases the messages are followed up with relieved updates or, for some, news that the person was injured but alive. But for many there was no news at all.

It was on Twitter also that Valentin Ribet, a British-trained French lawyer, emerged as the first victim to be named publicly as among the dead.

An associate at the international law firm Hogan Lovells specialising in white-collar crime, he graduated from the London School of Economics just last year.

The LSE posted a short message online to say: "Our hearts are filled with sadness at this news."

Hamish MacDonald, 24, from Fort William, was originally feared missing after attending the concert at Le Bataclan, but after a tense 10-hour wait his family said that he had survived.

The first heartbreaking messages included one from a brother seeking his sister, Ariane Theiller, and her friend, Guillaume Belot, who were at the concert.

As the hours passed Guillaume was found but Ariane remained missing.

Among several Muslim names listed was 27-year-old Waleed Abd El Razzak, who attended the France versus Germany football match at the Stade de France, which was targeted.

Later, a friend who listed her locations as Toronto and Cairo, posted an update saying Waleed had been located at a hospital, injured but alive.

Estephania Bernal, a 25-year-old health worker in Barcelona, had been trying to locate her French girlfriend, who she believed was having dinner near one of the restaurants that came under attack.

"I haven't heard from her and she's someone who is always online," she said.

"I've been calling all the hospitals in the area, the police, and they don't have answers for me."

Among those listed as missing was Marie Mosser, a marketing assistant for the Mercury France music label. She was at the Bataclan concert by the American rock band Eagles of Death.

"Please, this person was at Bataclan this evening, did someone see her?" posted one friend.

One recurring image was the smiling face of a young man called Victor Munoz, clutching two cups of popcorn at a party. He was last seen eating at the Belle Equipe restaurant. But updates gave contradictory messages.

Meanwhile, ashen-faced relatives also congregated at Paris's main hospitals.

At La Pitie Salpetriere hospital, vehicles from France's organ donation service were seen arriving under armed police escort throughout yesterday morning.

At the Lariboisiere Hospital, closest to the scenes  of most of the attacks, one doctor explained: "There were patients with bullet wounds in their heads, in their legs and on their body.

"We needed to get them straight into surgery and the intensive care unit.

"There was a lot of blood. We saw them in the emergency unit and then we sent them to the other departments.

"When we were full, they went to other hospitals. A lot of medics came into work or stayed through the night."

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