Emergency responders were forced to flee when they were targeted with fireworks and projectiles while tending to a fatally-injured person who fell four stories on New Year’s Eve in Brussels, according to reports.
The disturbing incident unfolded during a night of chaos in the Belgian capital, as authorities were stretched thin by nearly double the number of calls of years past.
Paramedics were summoned to a gruesome scene in the municipality of Saint-Gilles, where a male had fallen from a balcony on the fourth floor.
“I can't even describe the scene to you because it was so horrible. We started a cardiac massage immediately, without thinking, even if it was in atrocious conditions,” a medic told Le Soir.
The injured male was pronounced dead after a lengthy rescue effort.
However, before his family could be properly notified, medical crews and police came under attack.
“After 45 minutes of teamwork, the doctor unfortunately had to face the facts. The person died. The rescuer had not even been able to announce the death to the family before we received several projectiles (glass bottles and stones) thrown in our direction, followed by mortar fire (fireworks) that exploded next to us and the victim, still on the ground and barely clothed in a white sheet," a medic said.
"We had to run so we wouldn't get hurt or burned. I had a great sense of disgust. And at the same time, embarrassed and sad for the family. Imagine the scene – the body of a family member who has just fallen to his death, who is still on the ground, and the rescuers are stoned and shot with mortars and have to run for protection. I hope it makes some people think.”
Brussels firefighters and paramedics were called to more than 700 interventions on New Year’s Eve - “twice as many as under normal circumstances,” a spokesperson said.
Police and emergency crews are frequently ambushed in Western European nations, particularly in migrant enclaves and 'no-go' zones where assailants draw little distinction between cops and first responders.
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(PHOTO: SIMON WOHLFAHRT/AFP via Getty Images)