The violence began when a gunman, dressed in dark clothing, opened fire in the Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch on Friday. A prayer session had been going on inside.
Witnesses said they ran for their lives after hearing gunshots.
‘Waiting and praying’
One unnamed survivor who had blood on his clothes told local media that he saw the gunman shoot a man in the chest.
The witness estimated that the shooting lasted for 20 minutes and that up to 60 people may have been injured.
“I was thinking he must run out of bullets,” he told broadcaster TVNZ.
“What I did was basically waiting and praying, God please, let this guy run out of bullets.”
The gunman reportedly targeted the men’s prayer room in the mosque, then moved to the women’s room.
The eyewitness said: “He came to this side, he shoot this side, he went to another room and went to the ladies’ section and shot them. I just heard one of the ladies has died.”
“My brother is there and I don’t know if he’s safe or not.”
‘Hundreds of bullet shells’
Another man, who survived by hiding, said people had broken through windows to escape.
“He started to shoot them. Anyone who he thinks is still alive, he will continue shooting them,” he told Radio New Zealand.
“He didn’t want anyone to stay alive.”
Survivor Farid Ahmed, who was in a wheelchair, said he was not sure if his wife was still alive.
“I saw from the hallway – to the room I was in – a guy was trying to come in that room and he was shot from the back and he was dead there,” he told TVNZ.
“I saw on the floor – the bullet shells – so many hundreds.”
At the second mosque, Linwood Masjid, survivors told local media they saw a gunman in a black motorcycle helmet open fire on around 100 people praying inside.
The attack occurred shortly after the first attack at the Al Noor mosque.