One of the survivors of December's Lindt Cafe siege in Sydney has angrily criticised the way the police handled the 17-hour ordeal with gunman Man Horan Monis.
Marcia Mikhael, 43, was one of 14 survivors who spoke of their harrowing experience in competing head-to-head packages on the Seven and Nine networks last night.
Ms Mikhael, a Westpac Bank executive, spoke of being furious at the police response when she called to tell them the gunman's demands.
"The Prime Minister [Tony Abbott] is a very busy man and he can't come to the phone," she says she was told.
Joel Herat and Jarrod Hoffman.
"I yelled at him [the policeman]. I couldn't believe it. I was in disbelief. I think I actually said that I don't care what he's doing right now, whether he's walking his dog with his mates."
That was the moment "I lost hope", Ms Mikhael said. "It was then that I knew that there was not going to be any negotiation and we were just left there. No one was coming for us."
Ms Mikhael, who was reportedly paid $318,000 for the Seven interview, said it felt as though the police were just waiting. "It was a waiting game. They were being reactive. There was nothing proactive about that operation."
She believed the army would have been a more appropriate force to deal with the hostage drama.
Two other survivors spoke of arming themselves with switchblades and kitchen knives as the terror unfolded - and how they came close to stabbing Monis.
Lindt workers Jarrod Hoffman, 19, and Joel Herat, 21, told 60 Minutes of their fear some of the 18 hostages might be killed if their plan failed.
The men came close to using the weapons against their attacker as he terrorised his captives.
It was late in the afternoon, as Mr Herat was taking his turn to hold an Islamic flag in the cafe's window, when Monis came within arm's reach.
Without directly discussing their plan, the university student and Mr Hoffman, his close friend, had the same idea - to attempt to take their captor down, News Ltd reported.
Mr Herat said: "He was, you know, right below me sitting on the lounge and like, do I stab him? You know, what if I miss? What are the consequences of that, you know?"
With Monis holding his shotgun and wearing the backpack he claimed carried a bomb, Mr Herat considered what to do next.
Monis - agitated by the escape earlier of three of his captives - had threatened swift and bloody revenge on the others. For Mr Herat, the risk of messing up a strike on Monis - however calculated and courageous - ultimately proved too great, News Ltd reported.
"What if I, you know, dive and then kick the gun out of his hand and stab him ... I just couldn't end up doing it. I just, yeah, I just couldn't."
Mr Hoffman considered his own action plan, but saw the risk to pregnant lawyer Julie Taylor and ruled out moving against Monis.
"I've got this knife in my pocket and I know Joel has a knife in his pocket. And we are so close we could do this but, you know, someone would need to jump, hold his arms down and then I would stab him in the jugular. But he had his gun, he had it on his knee and I could see it was pointed directly at Julie Taylor's back."
Pregnant barista Harriette Denny told 60 Minutes: "Knowing that you're about to die is kind of hard, the desperation you feel, the fear, you lose hope, thinking about your family outside, thinking there's nothing you can do to get yourself out and it's very hard."
Monis and two of the hostages died in the siege.
- AAP and agencies