Sunday Times war correspondent Miles Amoore has been described as ‘incredibly lucky’by the paper’s foreign editor after he survived being shot in the head in Tripoli.
Amoore was hit by loyalists on a road leading toward Colonel Gadaffi’s compound in Tripoli on Saturday but was saved by his Kevlar helmet.
He was hiding behind a gate with rebel troops when they came under fire. In his account of the incident in The Sunday Times, Amoore said the bullet pierced the gate first – slowing down the bullet ‘just enough’to prevent it from entering his skull.
After he was hit Ammore and Sunday Times photographer Paul Conroy continued pushing into the compound with the rebels. An hour later a bullet hit Conroy’s camera and ‘sent it flying from his hands”.
‘Miles picked himself up and carried on reporting after he was hit, and he was the first journalist to enter Gaddafi’s compound as it fell to the rebels,’the paper’s foreign editor Sean Ryan told Press Gazette.
‘He did a superb job. His coolness and courage under fire were a credit to him but he’s incredibly lucky to have survived with nothing worse than a stiff neck.”
The picture above shows Amoore with the bullet and the helmet that saved his life.
The 28-year-old reporter, who picked up a Foreign Press Association award for a Sunday Times feature about his soldier brother Jim being injured in Afghanistan, was shortlisted for the British Press Awards young reporter of the year in 2010 and foreign reporter of the year in 2011.
He was recently shortlisted for the Prix Bayeux international award for war correspondents.
My first thoughts were: ‘I’m still alive but I’m dying’
Describing the moment he was hit, Ammore wrote in the Sunday Times: ‘The bullet clanged into my helmet, smacking the Kevlar into the left side of my skull and throwing me to the ground.
‘The shock of being floored by something I couldn’t see confused me: it took a few seconds to realise I’d been hit in the head. I could hear a metallic ringing in my ears.
‘My first thoughts were: ‘I’m still alive but I’m dying, slowly bleeding out; my brains must be on the floor. Perhaps the bullet only went through a bit of my head and that’s why I can see and think.'”
He continued: ‘The fear of dying, followed by the elation of being alive, made me forget where I was for a moment. Then I looked up to see a Libyan rebel gaping at me, frozen to the spot in shock.
“Other rebels had fled when they saw the round hit me. I could see their feet racing away as I lay there.
‘I realised I needed to get up. Bullets were still flying overhead; splashes of dirt kicked up around me. I dragged myself up and ran towards cover, racing around the corner of a building, where I leant against a wall, trying to get my breath back.
‘I took my helmet off and checked my head again for blood. Nothing. Rebel fighters lined up against a wall on the opposite side of the alleyway looked on impassively.”