Westlake woman in Paris on night of attacks - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Westlake woman in Paris on night of attacks

Rachel Pankiw was in Paris when the terrorists struck (Source: WOIO) Rachel Pankiw was in Paris when the terrorists struck (Source: WOIO)
WESTLAKE, OH (WOIO) -

Rachel Pankiw is glad to be back in Westlake.

Rachel, along with her mother and aunt were in Paris on the night of the attacks.

"We were right near the Eiffel Tower so we just heard sirens all night," Rachel said.

The three women were in Paris to visit Rachel's sister Lauren, who is studying in the south of France.

After spending a few days with Lauren they returned to Paris see the sights.

The attacks happened the night before they caught their plane back to America.

They went to bed early but a phone call from another aunt here in the U.S. woke them up. That's how they found out about the danger they were in.

"She called from Boston actually. She saw the news coverage out here in the States and she called us. We had no idea what was going on," Rachel said.

That's when she powered up her cell phone and checked into Facebook.

Rachel had dozens of notifications, and was able to let everyone know they were okay.

She got no sleep that night and will never forget the trip to the airport the next morning.

"The whole city, all the streets were just abandoned. There was no one on the streets on our way to the airport," Rachel described.

When they did make it to the airport, getting through security was a challenge.

Rachel says she's never been so thankful to be home.

"It makes you appreciate your life that much more but it also makes you more vigilant."

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