As news of the Mumbai massacre continues to unfold, stories of unaccounted for Canadians are headlining news media outlets across the country.
Two Live Current Media employees were caught in the crossfire in Mumbai and ARE accounted for but the connection to Vancouver's technology community brings this tragedy very close to home.
Vancouver-headquartered Live Current has a huge stake in India with their Cricket ventures and staff visit Mumbai often. This week President & COO Jonathon Ehrlich and Chief Revenue Officer Alex Chamberlain were visiting and got caught in the crossfire.
Chamberlain was in a restaurant at the Oberoi hotel when he heard gunfire and barely managed to escape. When the terrorists stormed the building, Chamberlain and a group of people were rushed into the kitchen and held hostage.
At the nearby Oberoi Trident hotel, Alex Chamberlain, a British website director, was having dinner with a friend when he heard shots fired. Moments later, a waitress stumbled into the dining room with her arms covered in blood. A fresh-faced gunman holding an AK47 rifle appeared behind her, herding the 30 panicked guests towards the emergency staircase.
“He ushered us up three flights of stairs before he told everyone to put their hands on the wall and get out our passports,” Mr Chamberlain told The Times. “He said he wanted British and Americans. Luckily before he got to me two women started crying, which distracted him.”
“I thought this was a nightmare. The whole thing was unreal. There was smoke coming up the stairs, gunshots above us, the sound of grenades going off. I thought if we got to the roof they’d shoot all the white people, so when I got to the 18th floor I decided to escape.
“I beckoned to the guy behind me and went through a side door and crouched under a table. I was convinced the terrorist had seen us. I was waiting for him to open the door and kill us both. The smoke was getting thicker and thicker. I couldn’t breath. After about 15 minutes we agreed we had to go down.”
Mr Chamberlain groped his way through the smoke, down 18 flights of stairs, before he met a group of six other tourists, including a Briton named Michael. They found a cricket bat which they used to smash a window and escape to freedom. “Every noise we made we were worried the terrorists would hear. When we got out of the hotel I felt amazing. Not safe but absolutely relieved.”
Ehrlich and Chamberlain are both safe and on their way home.