British survivor of New Zealand terror attack tearfully recounts how he escaped 'without a scratch'

Bonnie Christian

A British survivor of the Christchurch terror attack has said he does not know how he escaped "without a scratch".

Nathan Smith, who converted to Islam after moving to New Zealand 13 years ago, was worshipping in the Al Noor mosque when the lone gunman struck on Friday.

The father-of-three, originally from Poole in Dorset, said he first thought the shooting was "firecrackers" or an "electrical problem".

"Then, all of a sudden it was becoming louder and louder," he told the BBC.

Mourners lay flowers near the Linwood mosque in Christchurch. (AP)

"The windows started going out, I could see people just falling forward. People standing up and just falling."

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with murder after 50 people were killed and dozens more injured in the massacre at two mosques last Friday.

Mr Smith told the broadcaster through tears: "50 people, dead. The bodies were stacked on top of each other. People just falling. The windows going out. I can't explain it.

A coffin containing the body of a victim of the Christchurch terrorist attack is carried for burial at Memorial Park Cemetery. (Getty Images)

"How I got out? I just don't know. All my friends dead and me not a scratch."

Mr Smith said he managed to escape through the back of the mosque and ran to his car before escaping over a wall.

He described how he then found a young woman lying in the road near the mosque.

Mr Smith said: "I didn't know her name and I don't know where she's from at the time.

"I'm just holding her, I don't know why but I'm stroking her back - she's already dead."

His account comes as bikers have vowed to stand guard outside New Zealand mosques as Muslims take part in their first Friday prayer following the shootings.

On Wednesday, the first two funerals were held for father and son Khalid Mustafa, 44, and 15-year-old Hamza Mustafa.