July 14, 2016 10:17 pm
Updated: July 15, 2016 1:59 am

‘We were just there’: Edmonton women in Nice, France hours before truck attack

WATCH ABOVE: Edmontonians Eileen Rhein and Lily Wosar explain their experiences in Nice, France.


Two Edmonton women in Europe on vacation say they were drinking coffee along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France just hours before a truck barrelled into a crowd Thursday night, killing dozens of people.

Eileen Rhein and Lily Wosar tried to extend their stay in Nice by one more night, but were not able to get in contact with the rental car company to keep the vehicle an extra day. The pair, along with another Edmonton woman, left Nice for Ibiza, Spain at around 4 p.m. local time.

“We would have actually been there, probably watching the fireworks, when everything happened,” Rhein said.

“It’s hard to imagine because we were just there and sitting on this beautiful promenade,” Wosar added. “We were trying everything we could to get to stay another night. We really were enjoying our time there. We thought it was such a beautiful place, we were having such a lovely time.”

Edmonton women Eileen Rhein (L) and Lily Wosar (R) were in Nice, France just hours before a truck attack.

Credit, Eileen Rhein and Lily Wosar

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At least 80 people were killed when a large truck drove onto a sidewalk and into a crowd of Bastille Day revellers. More people were wounded and the death toll is expected to rise.

“There was carnage on the road,” Nice native Wassim Bouhlel told the Associated Press. “Bodies everywhere.”

READ MORE: Dozens dead after truck attack in Nice, France: reports

The truck was loaded with arms and grenades, said Christian Estrosi, president of the region. Witnesses said the truck driver shot into the crowd before an exchange of gunfire with police. The truck driver was shot and killed by police, Estrosi told BFM TV.

Watch below: Full video coverage of truck attack in Nice, France WARNING: IMAGES ARE DISTURBING, DISCRETION ADVISED

Rhein and Wosar said the apartment they rented was about 25 metres from where the attacked happened. They spent the morning along the very road where the attack happened, watching crews set up for the big Bastille Day celebrations.

“Everyone was just preparing for this day and there was so much joy,” Wosar said. “We were sad to leave France and then hearing this, just getting into our hotel room and hearing these updates, was really, really devastating.”

“It was an absolute shock because this morning we were having a coffee at La Rotonde, which is a restaurant right where the attack happened. Literally a couple of hours ago, we were in that exact location,” Rhein said via Skype from Ibiza.

READ MORE: World reacts to Nice attack: ‘Canadians are shocked by tonight’s attack’

The women said they felt very safe while in Nice and everyone was really friendly.

“It’s saddening, it’s shocking and our prayers are with the people of France.”

Facebook has activated its safety check feature, allowing users to notify friends, family and followers that they are safe.

Watch below: Leaders from around the world are condemning an attack on Nice, France. Canadians who are in Europe are shocked by what’s happening, including a pair of Edmontonians. As Shallima Maharaj reports, the women were in the exact spot where the attack happened just hours prior.

With files from Tania Kohut, Global News. 

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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