In Friday's horrifying terror attack on a Tunisia beach, an attack in which a reported single gunman killed 37 people as the sunbathed on vacation, at least one story of extraordinary heroism has already emerged — the story of 30-year-old dad Matthew James who threw his body between his fiancee and the terrorist's Kalishnikov machine gun.
James, of Trehafod, Wales, took three bullets from the killer's gun — but unlike 35 other victims, he miraculously survived and is recovering in the intensive care unit of a Tunisia hospital with Saera Wilson, his 26-year-old fiancee and mother of his two children, ages six and one, by his side.
The couple — Matthew, a gas engineer, and Saera, a beautician — left the two kids at home as they set out on what they planned as a relaxing, romantic getaway.
But Saera may not have been at the hospital at all if Matthew had not sacrificed himself for her as the gunman — identified by authorities as 23-year-old Seifeddine Yacoubi of Kairouan, Tunisia — sprayed bullets all over the idyllic beach at the four-star Hotel Riu Imperial Marhab resort.
"He told me: 'I love you babe. But just go — tell our children that their daddy loves them,'" Wilson told the British media, speaking from her fiancee's bedside.
The couple plans to tie the knot once and for all in 2017.
"He was covered in blood from the shots but he just told me to run away," Saera recounted. "He took a bullet for me. I owe him my life because he threw himself in front of me when the shooting started."
According to the latest media reports, mostly European vacationers made up the 36 fatalities of Friday's attack. The 37th fatality was the gunman himself, who was shot dead by security forces.
"I ran back, past bodies on the beach to reach our hotel. It was chaos. There was a body in the hotel pool and it was just full of blood," Wilson recalled. "You just can't explain how terrible it was. It was chaos with screaming and gunshots. I'm just so glad Matthew is alive because so many other people are dead. It was the bravest thing I've ever known. But I just had to leave him under the sunbed because the shooting just kept on coming."
Matthew James and Saera Wilson hope to go home and leave the horror of Friday's Tunisia terror attack behind them as soon as they can.
[Image: Saera Wilson Facebook]