Local Mumbai survivors tell their story

December 2, 2008 4:34:01 PM PST
Delaware correspondent Lauren Wilson got a dramatic account of what it was like under terrorist fire.Rich Diffenderfer of Greenville, Delaware told Action News' Lauren Wilson what he heard as the attacks began: "Bam, Bam. What is going on, what is all that noise?" All that noise was the Taj Mahal Hotel under attack by terrorists. Diffenderfer and O'Brien, two best friends, were trapped in the hotel for 60 hours. They said they to eight of the hours there was very heavy fire.

"I looked over the banister and there was a guy running along shooting people with an AKA 47 with a 50 round magazine," Diffenderfer said.

These ex-military men say a business venture brought them to India: "We went there, we had a great time, had great commercial success," Dennis O'Brien of Greenville said, "but all of the sudden somebody decided to kill us."

That somebody turned out to be Islamic extremists who forced the men to barricade themselves in their hotel rooms where Rich Diffenderfer reached his son in the U.S. by phone.

"He says, "Dad don't go out of your room. These people are killing Americans and Brits. Well on that comforting note I went to the mini bar and had a triple."

These Greenville buddies credit humor with keeping them alive and the courage of Mumbai firefighters and the hotel staff. O'Brien said he was rescued on a highrise ladder.

"I missed the ladder and the fireman grabbed my leg pushed it on, grabbed my other leg, pushed it on the ladder and then to prevent me from getting killed by sniper bullets. He literally pushed his body on top of mine."

Those living in Delaware's most affluent neighborhoods can expect to hear from the 2 survivors soon. They're quick to say they'll be asking wealthy friends and supporters to help them raise $1 million to help the firefighters and hotel workers who helped them.

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