The Bangladesh cricket team “just escaped” after shots were fired at a Christchurch mosque near to where the team was due to play the final Test match of their tour of New Zealand.
Police confirmed there were multiple fatalities after shootings at two mosques in the city on Friday.
The third Test at Hagley Oval, which was scheduled to start at 9am on Saturday, has been cancelled.
All team members and staff caught up in the incident were able to return safely to their hotel, Bangladesh Cricket confirmed, after taking refuge in the immediate aftermath in the dressing rooms at Hagley Oval.
Australia’s Under-19s women side, who are also on tour in New Zealand and were staying in the same hotel as the Bangladesh team, were also confirmed safe.
Opening batsman Tamim Iqbal, Bangladesh’s highest run scorer, said he and his teammates were able to flee the scene. He described the experience as “frightening”.
Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers #christchurchMosqueAttack— Tamim Iqbal Khan (@TamimOfficial28) March 15, 2019
The police recommended that residents across Christchurch remain off the streets and said schools would be locked down until further notice.
ESPN’s Bangladesh correspondent Mohammad Isam, who has been travelling with the team, told the NZ Herald the team had just arrived at the mosque for Friday prayers when they heard shots fired.
“They [the Bangladesh players] were just outside the mosque about to get off from the bus and go into the mosque when they heard shooting and a lot of people running out and they saw someone wounded in front of them.
“And seeing that, they didn’t get off the bus. About 10 minutes later they ran out of the bus and ran through Hagley Park and into the Hagley Oval.”
Bangladesh team escaped from a mosque near Hagley Park where there were active shooters. They ran back through Hagley Park back to the Oval. pic.twitter.com/VtkqSrljjV— Mohammad Isam (@Isam84) March 15, 2019
The team’s high performance analyst, Shrinivas Chandrasekaran, said the team narrowly escaped the shooting, while Mushfiqur Rahim, the captain of the team, said they were “extremely lucky” to have survived.
Just escaped active shooters!!! Heartbeats pumping badly and panic everywhere!! #ChristchurchMosque— Shrinivas (@chinu1501) March 15, 2019
Alhamdulillah Allah save us today while shooting in Christchurch in the mosque...we r extremely lucky...never want to see this things happen again....pray for us— Mushfiqur Rahim (@mushfiqur15) March 15, 2019
New Zealand Cricket sent its “heartfelt condolences” to the families and friends of those affected by the attack in Christchurch and confirmed both sets of players and support staff were safe.
Bangladesh have been touring New Zealand since last month. They lost the one-day international series 3-0 and have also lost the three-Test series after New Zealand claimed victory in the opening two matches.