A survivor of the Al Noor Mosque shooting has described how he ran for his life as the bullets flew.

Noor Hamzah, 54, said when the shooting began he ran outside with scores of others.

They hid behind cars in the rear car park at the Deans Ave mosque.

'This is a disaster for New Zealand. A black day,
'This is a disaster for New Zealand. A black day," says survivor Noor Hamzah.

He said the shooting felt like it lasted for at least 15 minutes.

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Armed police later stormed the building, and Hamzah could see dead bodies lying at the front entrance.

He looked in the mosque windows and saw "piles of bodies".

Hamzah came to New Zealand from Malaysia to study in the early 80s, before settling here in 1998. He was stunned by today's massacre.

"This is a disaster for New Zealand. A black day," said Hamzah, who had blood on his clothes from trying to help the wounded.

"I can't imagine something like this happening at all. It hasn't sunk into my head yet.

"I think I'll go into shock over the next couple of days. I hope I am strong enough.

"We have to bury a lot of people."

'People just started running for their lives'

Mohan Ibrahim is one of around 400 people who were praying inside Christchurch's Masjid Al Noor mosque when the shooting began.

"I didn't get a glimpse of the gunman as I was in the next room, but all of a sudden we heard the shots being fired and people just started running for their lives. I'm still in shock.

"A lot of people have been killed and many are injured. I can see a girl dead in the middle of the road," Ibrahim said through tears.

"I am scared for my friends. Some are still inside and we have been calling but can't get hold of them," Ibrahim said.

Ibrahim said his friends who were at the other mosque in Linwood had called him saying the shooting occurred there at the same time.

"I have friends at both Islamic centres - it's terrifying and I don't know what to do."

He said it was completely unexpected.

"You think New Zealand is the safest place in the world, it's just really unexpected."

Sophie Nears, 19, told the Herald her friend had called her screaming that he had been shot in the leg and he was hysterical - she did not know if her friend was alive.

"He just hung up and I haven't been able to get back in contact with him.

"I've never heard him cry before. He was screaming that heaps of people were dead and then the line just cut out."

Utter panic as shot man sought help

A Christchurch resident heard up to 20-40 gunshots and soon a shooting victim arrived at the house with a bullet wound 7cm into his leg.

A young man and his three flatmates, who live on Brockworth Place near Masjid Al Noor mosque, rushed to the aid of a male Muslim who fled to his house after the mass shooting.

"I had to deal with that really quickly considering I just woke up," he said.

"We called an ambulance and police and I applied pressure to the wound.

"It's just human nature to help someone in that situation."

When the Muslim man ran into their house he told the young man that he had just been at the mosque, multiple shots were fired and he fled the scene immediately looking for help.

"[The victim said] he didn't see the armed gunman but he heard bullets ringing around, one had just missed his stomach area. He would have had a far more serious injury in that case." he said.

"I thought he was making it up ... I didn't realise something of this magnitude could happen in New Zealand.

"I was just in an utter panic."

The bullet was embedded 7cm into the man's leg.

'Running and screaming'

A 14-year-old witness to the mosque shooting has described the "running and screaming" that followed.

Idris Khairuddin says prayers were just about to begin when he heard multiple gunshots.

"At first I thought it was just like construction work or something, then people were all running and screaming," said the 14-year-old Hillmorton High School student.

His uncle Tamizi was one of about six persons he knew had been shot.

Idris said he was sitting near the door, he said he saw people falling down but wasn't sure if they were injured.

"I just ran as fast as I could, over the fence to Hagley Park, I didn't stop," he said.

"The gun shots sounded like pop, pop, pop... I heard over 50."

Idris and his uncle were both Malaysians living in Christchurch.

"My uncle got shot in his backside, I am just praying it is not too serious."

"This week is the first time I went to the mosque...I am still shaking, and I am traumatised," Idris said.

He said everything was a chaos as people scrambled to get out of the mosque.

Child played outside mosque as shooting began

Rahimi Ahmad, 39, went for Friday prayers at Masjid Al Noor mosque in Deans Avenue with his 11-year-old son as he did every week.

His son was playing outside when gunshots were heard in the mosque - another mosque-goer grabbed his hand and took him for shelter at a house next door.

However, no one knows what has happened to Rahimi.

His wife, Azila, says she is waiting anxiously to hear from him.

"I just want to know he's safe, and I'm praying and hoping that he will call," she said.

"Rahimi has his mobile phone with him, so I'm sure he will be able to get in contact soon. But right now I don't know what's happened to him."

Rahimi went to the mosque at around 1pm with his son, she said.

But when she heard news about the shooting, she got worried about their safety.

She got a call from her friend saying her son was safe, but Rahimi was believed to be inside the mosque at the time of the shooting.

"My son was playing outside, so when the shooting happened, a friend just grabbed him and took him to a Kiwi's house next to the mosque," Azila said.

Police set up missing persons website to help public find loved ones

Police are also making an effort to inform the public of the Restoring Family Links (RFL) website where people can register missing persons or register themselves as alive.

The Red Cross has been asked by police to activate the website due to today's massacre in Christchurch.

The RFL website is a tool where the public can self-register they are alive so family and friends know they are safe. Members of the public can also register missing persons.

People living in New Zealand can also register missing persons on 0800 115 019, and a member of police will get in touch with you.