Nova Festival Massacre Survivor: 'Lady in Red' Vlada Patapov Shares Her Story

nova festival massacre survivor: 'lady in red' vlada patapov shares her story

nova festival massacre survivor: ‘lady in red’ vlada patapov shares her story

Vlada Patapov, a 25-year-old mother, the subject of the eerie photo of a young woman running from the attack at the Nova festival on October 7th while wearing a red shawl, has shared her story and her experience during the terrifying ordeal.

Fears Proven Right

Patapov, a wedding planner, was attending the festival on a whim, with her friends Matan and Mai, and several other people to unwind for the holiday weekend, Dailymail reported.

Although she had been worried about their proximity to the Gaza border, she figured it had to be safe, or the festival wouldn’t have taken place there.

‘Matan got some tickets, and we went with a friend, but I had a feeling something wasn’t right when we left the Friday afternoon.

‘Romi (her daughter) was so quiet, she is always usually noisy running around playing with her toys but that day she was still, and I’m sure now she knew something terrible was going to happen,’ she reported to Dailymail.

But on the morning of October 7, rocket fire from Gaza started to batter Israel, confirming her worst fears.

A Scramble To Reach Safety

Patapov and others mistook the rockets for another wave of attacks that Israel’s Iron Dome Defence system would eventually deflect. However, it soon became clear that the rockets were only the beginning of an all-out offensive against the Jewish State.

“I immediately heard shooting. It was loud and very close to us,” she said. “For a few seconds I didn’t know what was happening and then Matan just screamed that we had to run for the car.”

The panic triggered a desperate attempt to escape, forcing the Ukrainian-born Patapov to don her now-famous red shawl and run furiously amid gunshots before jumping into the back of a car and leaving.

She managed to escape with two of her companions, but many of her other friends ended up among the more than 360 people that Hamas militants killed at the festival that day.

Hamas Militants Impersonated IDF Soldiers

As soon as Hamas militants entered the festival grounds, an evacuation was ordered, and Patapov confirmed reports that some of the shooters had impersonated IDF officers in order to trick unsuspecting people.

“We thought it was an Israeli soldier and we would be OK, then a guy a few cars in front got out and the soldier, who I know now was a terrorist, shot him,” she detailed about the trap.

“We all crouched down low, and bullets started hitting the cars around us but, I don’t know how, we didn’t seem to be hit,” she told the Mail.

With exits blocked off, the vehicle was no longer an option.

The trio then ran across the desert, where the footage of Patapov was taken as several people, including friends, were gunned down by Hamas, but the mayhem caused the women to be separated from Matan, and they eventually took refuge in a forest.

A Mother’s Sheer Will

‘We didn’t know what to do or where to go and all I could think of was Romi,” Patapov spoke of her daughter. “I kept seeing her face and said someone has to survive for her.”

The two women were eventually picked up by a man on the road who took them and five others out of the desert and drove them to safety at an army base in Tze’elim.

Later, she was also able to reconnect with Matan, who was at another army base 20 minutes away.

Patapov stated that she gave her kid “the biggest hug ever” as soon as she returned home.

Survivor’s Guilt

Even though she is grateful to have survived the traumatic event, she confessed that she struggles with survivor’s guilt from the terror attack that claimed the lives of over 1,200 Israelis.

“I sometimes feel guilty that I survived, and that others didn’t make it and what happened to me only lasted maybe 18 hours but for many the pain is still going on and I think about the hostages still in Gaza. We must not forget them,” she said.

Authored by Feba Bovas

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