San Francisco

‘Hunkered Down': SF Airbnb Conference Attendees Describe Chaos in Paris Amid Deadly Attacks

Airbnb employees and hosts tweeted from Paris about the deadly attacks during the hospitality company's first conference ever held outside of San Francisco.

They described the chaos and the horror, including how many of them were barricaded in restaurants, some lying on the floor.

The company canceled all events for Saturday, according to a tweet from Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO and co-founder. "We are heartbroken and our thoughts are with the people of Paris, the victims of this terrible attack and their families," Chesky wrote.

More than 6,000 attendees from over 100 countries are at Parc dela Villete, the third largest park in Paris from Nov. 12 to 14 as Airbnb announces new features and services for hosts. Airbnb is working to account for all employees and event attendees who are in Paris right now. The company did not immediately return calls requesting comment.

Airbnb employee and occasional Airbnb host Scott Raymond rushed back to his apartment in the 10th arrondissement in the middle of all the chaos.

“I was at dinner with my wife near Place Sainte-Catherine and got a text from a co-worker,” Raymond told NBC Bay Area from Paris. “Uber was unavailable — a taxi told us he could not take us past a blockade. We took the Metro through Republique — without stopping — and got back to our listing safely.”

Raymond said he could hear sirens in the distance everywhere. “Some Metro stations around Republique were not allowing stops as we came home,” he said.

Raymond describe the situation as tense: “Everyone in our small restaurant was suddenly staring at their phones as the news began to break. The subways were fairly empty and sober."

The death toll in Friday's attacks across Paris rose to 129, the Paris prosecutor said Saturday during a news conference. The coordinated series of blasts and shootings come just 10 months after the Charlie Hebdo carnage.

French police had control of the hostage situation at a Paris concert hall, which was scheduled to play host to a band from California on Friday night. Officials described “carnage” inside the building.

Michael Endelman, who does content strategy for Airbnb was also tweeting updates.

“In #paris, terrorist incidents around the city, hostages at Eagles of death metal concert, bombs at a bar, more tk,” he tweeted at 1:54 p.m. PST.

Then a few minutes later: “Hunkered down with fellow #airbnb coworkers, hope that the 4k @airbnb in the city this week are safe.”

His last tweet was at 2:17 p.m. PST which described the scene: “Police cars everywhere, many @airbnb friends barricaded in restos, some lying on the floor. Word is 35 dead @EODMofficial show #Paris”[[347990661, C]]

If you are concerned about a US citizen in Paris you can call 1-888-407-4747 (from the US) or 202-501-4444 (from overseas) for assistance.

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