Indo-Brit Harry Athwal Hailed for his Bravery During Barcelona Attack

Harry Athwal says Julian Cadman looked to him like his son and he couldn't have left the child in the middle of the crisis.


Harry Athwal a British citizen of Indian origin, has grabbed international headlines for his ‘heroic’ effort of risking his life to ‘comfort’ an injured child in Barcelona terror attack.

“He was unconscious, his leg was bent the wrong way, there was blood coming out of his head, I knew it was more than blood,” Athwal revealed to Mirror UK in his first interview after the deadly attack.

‘I was not Going to Leave the Child’

A van plowed into pedestrians in Las Ramblas area of Barcelona on Thursday, killing at least 13 people. Seven-year-old British-Australian Julian Cadman is among those who were killed. Athwal says Julian Cadman looked to him like his son and he couldn’t have left the child in the middle of the crisis.

“I was checking for a pulse and he didn’t have one. I put my hand on his back and I thought he had gone. I was stroking his hair and in floods of tears but I stayed with him, I sat there because I was not going to leave this child in the middle of the road.”

‘It was About Comforting Him’

Athwal from Great Barr, Birmingham, was in Spain on a family trip to celebrate his son’s eighth birthday. He was about to order lunch at a restaurant located on the first floor when the van mowed down people. As he ran to the street to save the child, his family watched the horrifying attack unfold from the balcony of the restaurant.

“The police were telling me to move but I would not leave him. All the time I was thinking the terrorists could come back but I was not leaving that child. To me, he looked like my own son. He was my son’s age, seven or eight. I just ran my hands through his hair, it was about comforting him,” Athwal said.

The police then came and rescued the child after which he had no information about what happened to him. He couldn’t see the child’s face “as his hair was all over the face,” and he was bleeding profusely.

Social Media Pleas

Soon after the incident, Julian’s family posted pleas on social media platform to know the whereabouts of the child and to seek more information. Soon after, Spanish newspaper EL Mundo published a report claiming that the 7-year-old was found in the hospital. But authorities quickly rejected that report, calling it “false.” The boy was declared to be among the 13 causalities of the terror attack by the Catalan police on Sunday morning.

“Julian was a much loved and adored member of our family..He was so energetic, funny and cheeky, always bringing a smile to our faces …We are so blessed to have had him in our lives and will remember his smiles and hold his memory dear to our hearts,” the family said in a statement, the Washington post reported.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack but the police are still hunting for the driver of the van. The victims of the Barcelona attack come from all over the world, with at least 34 nationalities represented. More than 100 people were injured in the attack.

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