Professor of Orthopedics Ed Puzas was eating dinner with his wife and another couple in the lobby of the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, India on Wednesday, Nov. 26 when he heard gunshots being fired. The professor and his company ran the moment they heard the shots fired, finding temporary safety in the hotel’s first floor gym.

‘We saw grenades being thrown,” Puzas said. ‘My wife and I turned in the other direction and ran as fast we could to the fitness center, which was underground, and we barricaded ourselves for a number of hours.”

Indian commandos helped the couples and others escape out of the basement corridor amidst gunfire. Puzas recalled that shots were fired as he left the barricade until they were out of range of the shooters. He explained that he is still uncertain if there was ever a gun pointed at him.

He estimates that his ordeal in the hotel lasted about eight hours.

‘We literally had to duck behind some cars for safety until we got out of range of what was going on,” he said.

The gunshots the company heard while at dinner were the sounds of terrorists attacking the Mumbai hotel an assault that would result in the death of 172 people over the course of three days.

Puzas and his wife were in India for an international bone and joint conference. Before the conference began, the couple decided to spend a couple days touring Mumbai. It was during this visit that they fell victim to the terrorist attack.

Later, Puzas and his wife were escorted to the American consulate, where they received help finding a flight home that same weekend.

Less than two days after returning home from the episode, Puzas returned to work at the UR Medical Center on Monday morning.

He says he is doing well as he continues to correspond with the hotel to retrieve personal items left behind in the locked rooms. Right after the incident, however, he admitted he was shaken up. The couple with whom Puzas and his wife were dining have returned safely to their homes, as well.

‘I didn’t feel completely safe until the plane was off the ground and we were out of Mumbai,” Puzas said. ‘Every car door, every flick of the light, you kind of whip around to see what was going on. [The attackers] were there to create unrest and havoc, and they did.”

Hilfinger is a member of the class of 2010.

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