Wounded Manitoban hid under wheelbarrow to survive Las Vegas massacre

Jan Lambourne remembers thinking the Las Vegas night air was beautiful and the music was perfect. Seconds later, she was pulling herself, bleeding, through the grass as gunfire hailed down.

Jan Lambourne was shot in abdomen, damaging her intestines and shattering her pelvic bone

Manitoba woman recounts horror of Las Vegas shooting

5 years ago
Duration 4:24
A Teulon woman who was shot in Las Vegas on Sunday says adrenaline made it possible for her to run to safety despite a shattered pelvis. Jan Lambourne was with a friend at the Route 91 Harvest Festival when the shooting started. Lambourne collapsed when she was shot in the pelvis.

Jan Lambourne remembers thinking the Las Vegas night air was beautiful and the music was perfect.

Seconds later, she was pulling herself, bleeding, through the grass as gunfire hailed down.

Lambourne, from Teulon, Man. — a small town about 60 kilometres north of Winnipeg — was among thousands at Route 91 Harvest, an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas, when a gunman, identified by police as Stephen Paddock, opened fire on the crowd of about 22,000 at 10:08 p.m. local time Sunday.

"All of a sudden I hear this 'pop, pop, pop,' and I looked at my friend and I said, 'I don't know if that's fireworks.' Next thing I knew, I took a shot. I felt it," Lambourne said from her bed at Valley Hospital Medical Centre in Las Vegas.

I tried to pull myself through the grass because I started realizing, I'm in the middle of a field and I'm wide open.- Jan Lambourne

"Then my hip gave out, I guess because of the pelvic fracture, and I fell to the ground. I looked down and I could see I was bleeding."

The bullet entered the left side of her abdomen, ripped through her intestines and smashed into her pelvic bone.

From his 32nd-floor window of the Mandalay Bay hotel, Paddock had a clear view across the Las Vegas strip to the outdoor festival site.

At least 59 people were killed in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. More than 525 others were injured. Police said Paddock, 64, eventually took his own life, but not before pausing a couple of times to reload his weapons and fire again.

"Everybody was just, oh those poor people, everybody was just running. You don't ever expect to see something so chaotic," Lambourne said.

The text Jan Lambourne sent to her husband, just after the shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday. (CBC)

In the panic, she was separated from her friend, Jody Ansell, another Manitoban who flew to Vegas with her for the concert.

"I tried to pull myself through the grass because I started realizing, I'm in the middle of a field and I'm wide open," Lambourne said.

Calling it an adrenaline rush, she somehow stood up on her broken pelvis and said she ran "the best I could."

Lambourne took shelter in a merchandise tent and found a metal fridge to hide against. She also located a wheelbarrow and flipped it over to use as a shield, resting in the hollow.

She took the next moment to text her husband: "I love you. I've been shot. I love [you] so much."

Then Lambourne remembered she had been gripping a bag with souvenir Route 91 shirts, so she pulled them out and pressed them against her wound to slow the bleeding.

She waited, listening to the sounds of gunfire and screaming, before she was found by a man named Justin, whom she referred to as "a military guy."

Seeing her condition, Justin ran to get help, returning with three more people who all helped carry Lambourne to an ambulance.

Jody Ansell, left, and Jan Lambourne pose for a picture the day before the shooting. (Jody Ansell/Facebook)

He then hopped in and travelled with her to the hospital, staying at her bedside and using her phone to contact as many family members as he could to let them know what happened.

"He was amazing. The last time I seen him was when they took me in for surgery," Lambourne said, then whispered through sobs, "He saved my life."

During her interview with CBC, Lambourne repeated praise of Justin — she didn't get his last name — and her anguish for the other victims.

I know now that I came in very critical and that they put me back together.- Jan Lambourne

Lambourne said there have been many doctors and nurses coming by her room, keeping a close watch on her.

"They've been a big blessing. I'm very grateful," she said. "I know now that I came in very critical and that they put me back together."

She's been given no indication of when she might be able to be transferred back to Manitoba. All she knows is there is "a long recovery" ahead of her.

"I'm just going day by day. When they say I'm ready, I'll be ready."

In the meantime, Lambourne's husband and son are flying to Nevada to be with her.

Ansell set to fly home

Her friend Ansell, from Stonewall, Man., is also recovering after being shot in the arm.

After running from the concert venue, she tried to flag down a vehicle for help but none would stop until she stood in the middle of the road.

Scans taken at the hospital show the bullet passed right through her right arm, just below the elbow, and X-rays don't show breaks to any bones, she said.

Jody Ansell was shot in the right arm but did not require surgery. (Jody Ansell/Facebook)

On Monday, she posted an update on her condition on her Facebook page.

"I was discharged from hospital and managed to switch hotels. Looking at flying out of here tomorrow!" she wrote.

She also wrote that she "had the honor of meeting up with the 2 girls" who pulled over and put her in their car, and who she says looked after her until she was taken to hospital.

"Wanna thank everyone for their love and prayers during this horrible time," she wrote.

"Gonna try and get to visit Jan tomorrow b4 I fly out. Will catch up with messages when I can. Just overwhelmed right now."

Cache of weapons

Police have said 23 guns were found in Paddock's hotel suite, while a search of his car turned up a supply of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer compound that can be formed into explosives and was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of a federal office building that killed 168 people.

Another 19 firearms, some explosives and thousands of rounds of ammunition were later found at Paddock's home in Mesquite, about 145 kilometres northeast of Las Vegas.

With files from Briar Stewart