An employee of the cafe at the centre of the Sydney siege said her “heart just sank” when she recognised three of the hostages on television.
Kathryn Chee was about to start work at the Lindt chocolate cafe in Martin Place when news of the siege broke.
She said the first pictures she saw were “three people she knew” standing with their hands up against the cafe’s window.
“I was shocked, I didn’t know what to do,” she told ABC News Australia.
“I started calling work. I called my kitchen manager and he didn’t pick up the phone.
“My heart just sank.
“It’s just a little cafe. We have regular customers. We know their orders. They come in the doors and we can see them straight away
“We have police officers coming in and getting a hot chocolate. We always have kids running around.
“I feel more sorry for the customers that are in there. At least I know my colleagues that are working and we can contact their families but for the customers, their families don’t even know they are there.”
Ms Chee later told Sky News that two of the hostages were a man and woman who worked at the cafe.
She said: “I could see her crying and wiping away tears. She just looked like she was shaking and it was hard to hold her arms up.
“It’s just really hard.”