March 15 survivor believes emergency door failure didn't add to deaths

Al Noor Mosque was the terrorist's first target. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon
Al Noor Mosque was the terrorist's first target. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon
A survivor of the Al Noor Mosque shooting does not believe the failure of the main prayer room's emergency exit door contributed to the number of lives lost in the massacre.

On Tuesday, Khaled Al-Nobani, who volunteered at the mosque organising car parking and occasionally opening or closing its doors, gave further evidence to the inquest into the deaths of the 51 worshippers murdered during the 2019 Christchurch terror attack.

Deputy Chief Coroner Brigitte Windley is hearing evidence on the emergency exit door in Al Noor Mosque's main prayer room failing to open during the shooting.

The door's failure to open may have contributed to the deaths of 11 people on March 15, 2019.

Of the 51 fatalities, 44 were shot at Al Noor Mosque.

When the shooting began at the mosque, worshippers rushed towards the emergency exit and some attempted to unlock the door, but it would not open.

The emergency exit door at Al Noor Mosque. Photo: Supplied / Ministry of Justice
The emergency exit door at Al Noor Mosque. Photo: Supplied / Ministry of Justice
Instead, Ahmad Alayedy kicked out the glass of the door's bottom pane, which allowed some to escape through the smashed glass.

But Al-Nobani told the inquest if the door did open, the terrorist would have simply killed more people outside.

"I believe if more people were outside they would be shot outside, it would be easier for him to shoot more people outside," Al-Nobani said, through a translator.

"Yes, more people will make it outside but they will be an easy target because some people fled through the window and hid among the cars, but he still shot them."

Asked why he thought the door did not open, Al-Nobani replied: "Only God knows, it's the will of God".

"It's very hard to come to any conclusion about it, maybe because many people were pushing it."

Al-Nobani tried the lock on the door during the massacre, but it would not open.

By the time he reached the door, Alayedy had already kicked out the glass and people were scrambling through the bottom pane.

"They were trying to flee ... there were two kinds of forces - one, is people actually trying to push the door and the other one is the friction of people actually going through the glass."

Al-Nobani's brief, which was read to the court last week, detailed the door was very old and could be "a little tricky" to operate.

Once outside the mosque, Al-Nobani assisted others to escape and witnessed his friends being shot.

Al Noor Mosque was the terrorist's first target.

The gunman entered the mosque and opened fire shortly after Friday prayers began.

He then drove to Linwood Islamic Centre, about 7km away, and opened fire outside, killing seven more.

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