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Bondi massacre survivor reunited with hero who saved her

Written by on May 9, 2024

A woman who survived the horrific massacre at Bondi Junction Westfield has reunited with the man who saved her life by carrying her into a nearby store after she was attacked.

Argentinian student Liya Barko, 35, was one of 18 people stabbed by Joel Cauchi, 40, during his rampage at the shopping centre which killed six people on April 13.

Her last memories before being rushed off to hospital were a tall man in a green T-shirt who carried her to safety.

“I would like to see him again, at least give him a hug,” she told Nine News on Tuesday night.

Ms Barko had her wish granted on Wednesday night when she reunited with ex-military soldier Wayne Tolver Banks.

“Oh my god, I remembered you were so tall ,” she said as they embraced in a hug.

“I’m so happy you’re alive,” Mr Tolver Banks replied.

As Cauchi launched his senseless knife attack on unsuspecting shoppers, Mr Tolver Banks said he recalled coming face-to-face with the offender.

He said the 40-year-old shook his head as if to indicate he was safe, before stabbing Ms Barko in the abdomen.

Incredibly Mr Tolver Banks’ wife Michi had been standing by his side but was spared from Cauchi’s violent attack.

In the crucial seconds that followed, the ex-soldier carried her into a nearby shop and the couple did what they could to keep her alive until emergency services arrived.

“Your wife she was the person who started to shake me when I started to say ‘I want to give up’ … she is the one who (said to me) ‘You are doing really well’,” Ms Barko said.

“For me … you were the angel who just appeared at the right moment at the right place.”

Six people lost their lives in the stabbing attack including Dr Ashlee Good, Jade Young, Dawn Singleton, Faraz Tahir, Pikria Darchia and Yixuan Cheng.

All 12 of the people who were injured in Cauchi’s attack have now been released from hospital.