Witnesses have described the carnage after multiple shooters opened fire on worshippers at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.
Forty-nine people are confirmed dead
following the attacks at Masjid Al Noor mosque and Linwood Masjid mosque about 1.40pm yesterday.
Syed Ahmed was among those worshipping at the Linwood Avenue mosque when he says a man wearing a black motorcycle helmet and camouflage clothing begin shooting from outside.
Mr Ahmed told the news site Stuff he believes at least eight people were shot, the first being elderly people sitting on chairs as they prayed.
'They were basically all shot,' he said.
The shooter was 'shouting something', which Mr Ahmed couldn't hear over the sound of screams, before he crawled into a storeroom to escape the carnage.
Witness Len Peneha, who lived next door to the Masjid Al Noor mosque, said he saw a man dressed in black enter the building before hearing dozens of shots, followed by people running in terror.
Mr Peneha said the gunman ran out of the mosque, dropped what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon in his driveway, and fled.
Mr Peneha said he then went into the mosque to try and help.
'I saw dead people everywhere. There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque,' he said.
'It's unbelievable nutty. I don't understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. It's ridiculous.'
He said he helped about five people recover in his home. He said one was slightly injured.
'I've lived next door to this mosque for about five years and the people are great, they're very friendly,' he said. 'I just don't understand it.'
Aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shooting
He said the gunman was Caucasian and was wearing a helmet with some kind of device on top, giving him a military-type appearance.
Another worshipper, Mohan Ibrahim, was inside that mosque with about 400 others when bullets began to rain down.
'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,' he told the New Zealand Herald.
'A lot of people have been killed and many are injured. I can see a girl dead in the middle of the road.'
He said he managed to escape but feared for his friends' lives.
'Some are still inside and we have been calling but can't get hold of them,' Mr Ibrahim said.
A man told stuff.co.nz he heard multiple shots before police swarmed the area.
'I heard 20 or more gunshots. I thought something happened and the people were running on the other side of Deans Avenue and now I can see so many police,' he said.
Another witness told TVNZ he heard gunfire at around 1.45pm local time.
'I heard a big sound of the gun. And a second shot, I ran,' the worshipper said.
'Lots of people were sitting on the floor. I ran around the door, I ran behind the mosque.'
The man said he saw around four people injured and 'lots of blood on the floor'.
A witness, with blood splatters across his shirt, told AAP the shooter changed magazines seven times after opening fire as the crowd gathered to pray. It is not clear which mosque he was at.
'When the shooting started people started rushing out, and the door was closed, and the guys came on them and started shooting them,' he said, describing how he hid under a bench and pretended to stop breathing.
'He went to all the different [rooms] and he shot everyone.'
Several hundred people were inside and witnesses reported seeing 'blood everywhere', according to Radio New Zealand.