Bollywood star''s Oz fiance''s lucky escape in terror-hit Mumbai

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Mumbai, Nov.27 : An Adelaide-based fashion designer, who is in India for her wedding, said on Thursday that she was lucky to be alive after teenage gunmen shot and killed a man, just metres from the restaurant where she was holed up.

Fashion designer Kloe Papazahariakis, who is in Mumbai to wed Bollywood star Puneet Vasishtha, was having dinner with friend when she got a phone call saying there had been a shooting at the popular restaurant Leopold's.

"I'm very good friends with the owners so we started watching television and one by one it added up to 12 blasts in 12 locations around India,'' Kloe told The Australian from her home just outside Mumbai.

"There was a massive shootout 20 metres from the restaurant we were at," she said, adding that terrorists had stolen a police van, forcing authorities to take shelter in a taxi.

She watched from the side-street restaurant as the chaos unfolded metres away.

Papazahariakis's father was also in the restaurant and saw a man - believed to be 18 or 19 - get shot in the throat.

"My father saw a boy get shot and we heard the bomb go off in the hospital, which was only 150 metres down the road."

Kloe Papazahariakis had planned to go Leopold's for dinner but decided on lunch, narrowly missing the attack.

She also narrowly escaped an attack on the Mumbai landmark, the Taj Mahal Hotel, where Westerners were taken hostage.

"We went to Taj for cocktail about an hour before the bombing. We were there about 7.30 p.m. the problems started at around 9, 9.30 p.m., by that time we'd reached our friend's restaurant," she said.

About 90 minutes later, she and other patrons began to hear gunshots.

"It was absolutely frightening,'' she said. "We weren't allowed out on to the street until 6.30am to go home.

"It really feels like an attack on foreigners," she said, describing the city as an "outright war zone."

Papazahariakis said that she was amazed to have escaped the carnage.

"We went to three of the locations today: we were at Leopold's, the Taj and Oberoi - so that's really quite strange."

ANI

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