The Bangladesh cricket team were heading to pray at a Christchurch mosque on Friday afternoon when a man began shooting at people inside.
Players and support staff have been preparing for the third test of a series against New Zealand, set to begin on Saturday, and were walking through Hagley Park when shooting broke out at the Al Noor mosque.
Tweets from sports reporters and team members say the group ‘just escaped’ the shooting, which saw a man enter the mosque and fire multiple shots at dozens of people as they tried to flee.
The man, who identified himself on Twitter as ‘Brenton Tarrant’ from Australia, described himself as ‘just a regular white man’.
A man believed to be the shooter has been taken into custody, but it is not known if there are other offenders.
The team’s opening batsman, Tamim Iqbal said on Twitter the ‘entire team got saved from active shooters’.
He said it was a ‘frightening experience’ and asked supporters to keep the team in their prayers.
Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim said Allah had saved the team.
‘We r [sic] extremely lucky,’ he wrote. ‘Never want to see this things [sic] happen again… pray for us.’
Shrinivas Chandrasekaran, the team’s performance and strategic analyst said they had ‘just escaped active shooters’. He said their hearts were pounding and there was ‘panic everywhere’.
ESPN cricinfo correspondent Mohammad Isam told the New Zealand Herald the team were ‘not in a mental state to play cricket at all,’ following the horrific attack.
‘I think they want to go back home as soon as possible. I’m speaking from experience, I’m speaking from what I’ve heard,’ he said.
‘Everyone is at the Hagley Park dressing room … two players are back at the hotel. They didn’t come out for the prayers so they are back at the hotel and the entire coaching staff are safe.’
Cricket executives are believed to be reconsidering holding the third test, which was scheduled to start on Saturday.
Witnesses reported hearing 50 shots from his semi-automatic shotgun at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country’s South Island.
The gunman live-streamed the mass shooting inside the Al Noor Mosque, which happened about 1.30pm (11.30am AEDT) as Friday prayers were underway.
A video seen by Daily Mail Australia shows the man firing multiple shots at dozens of people as they try to flee. The gunman is still at large.
People were also reportedly shot at the nearby Linwood Masjid mosque.
There are also reports of another shooting outside Christchurch Hospital and that a bomb was found in a car three kilometres from the mosque.
Police have urged people near the area to stay indoors and report suspicious behaviour, describing the incident as ‘critical’.