26/11 US victim recounts heroic efforts of hotel staff

Recounting the deadly Mumbai terror attack during the trial of Pakistani-American LeT terrorist David Coleman Headley, an American survivor has lauded the heroic efforts of the Oberoi hotel staff to save her life.

Appearing in a Chicago court, before David Coleman Headley was sentenced to 35 years of imprisonment for his "unquestionable role" in the Mumbai terrorist attack that claimed 166 lives, Linda Ragsdale told the judge how two kitchen employees of the Oberoi hotel defied the bullets of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists to save her and other survivors.

Ragsdale, recounted that at least two of the hotel staffers died in front of her eyes.

"Three of us made it into the kitchen. In a moment of silence, I watched my blood pour out in a pool in front of me. In another breath, the attackers came back with grenades. The bombs shook the walls and floor," she said.

A young man tried to help them out, but her pants were now too heavy for her body to move, she said.

"I told them to go ahead. I knew I was going to live. But this young man did not leave my side. He carefully removed the pants and led us to an exit. He kicked open the door, and we escaped into a beautiful, silent, starlit night," Ragsdale said.

"The next wave of heroes called out to us, taxi drivers who were waiting for survivors. That night our heroes wore the clothes of the everyday person. Each of these young heroes had egress, but they chose to stay and help others.

Together, we faced all of this, while you faced a TV screen," Ragsdale told Headley.

"I spent two weeks in the hospital in India and another week at home. It was almost four months before I could stand. For the rest of my life, I will have to work to keep mobile. To this day, the practitioners manipulate the scar and tissue to achieve this. Some days the pain increases to an almost unbearable stage, but it does not hinder me," Ragsdale said.

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