Hotel workers risked their lives to chase the Islamic State gunman who killed 38 people as terrified crowds fled in panic.
One Tunisian threw an ashtray at the gunman, Seifeddine Rezgui, while another tried to attack the Islamist with a bottle of olive oil.
A hotel worker, Ibrahim el-Ghoul, 18, told how he leapt on a jetski to get within “seven metres” of the terrorist and throw rocks at him.
Before pursuing Rezgui, he said, he saved four tourists when he gathered them close to him and shouted: “Allahu Akbar [GOD IS GREAT]”.
He said: “When I got there I found four British tourists — one man, two women and a girl — who were swimming down the beach, trying to get away. They were so scared. So I jumped into the water and tried to protect them and take them to a boat that was near.
“When I was taking the first one into the boat, someone said: ‘He’s out! He’s out!’ I saw the terrorist coming out of the hotel with a gun in his hand. He looked towards me swimming with these people because he heard their screams.
“He raised the gun and aimed at me. He didn’t see I was an Arab. I gathered the four people close to me and turned my back towards him and shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’.
“When he heard ‘Allahu Akbar’ he lowered his gun and went on walking along the beach. Then I decided to go after him. So I took a jetski and caught up to where he was.
“I picked up rocks and was throwing them at him, anything I could. I was about seven metres behind him. I was saying bad words in Arabic at him. But he just kept smiling. He walked about five metres and stopped, turned around and said: ‘I am not here to kill you. Turn around and go home.’ That was the last thing I heard from him.”
A video also has also emerged of an unnamed man believed to be a staff member at the Imperial Marhaba hotel chasing the terrorist along the beach.
Ducking in and out of the poolside bar, weaving between the thatched parasols and bodies splayed out on sunlounges, the man in the video appears to grab a bottle of olive oil in an attempt to arm himself against the killer, who is moving steadily with an AK-47.
The start of the footage, taken on a mobile phone, shows desperate holiday-makers scrambling away from the sound of bullets. As the man winds between tables and chairs, a large explosion is heard — thought to be a grenade. The 11-minute video shows horrific scenes of the slaughter, which left as many as 30 Britons dead.
Another hotel worker, named only as Mahdi, 25, was also filmed chasing the gunman. Mahdi had already risked his life in an attempt to rescue tourists by getting them into a small boat and launching it away from the shore as Rezgui reached the hotel.
The gunman continued his killing spree inside the hotel. He shot at least three more victims in the front of the building before emerging onto the beach. Mahdi chased him over the sands. “When the terrorist started killing tourists, I was in the sea trying to evacuate some people,” he said.
“Afterwards, I ran after him and threw an ashtray when I saw that he was out of bullets, before he could reload and shoot, because there were many people near by.”
He said that the fear of losing his job gave him the courage to confront Rezgui. Even as the Islamist left the beach, builders working above him on a hotel threw bags of cement and tiles at him.
John Yeoman, a British survivor, said that local people had thrown themselves in front of tourists in a bid to save their lives at all costs.
Mr Yeoman, 46, a transport worker from Kettering, Northamptonshire, was staying in a neighbouring hotel when the shooting began. He posted a picture on the internet of a crowd of Tunisians who formed a chain to protect foreigners from the gunman.
As police rounded up suspected accomplices, one witness said he believed a second gunman had opened fire on the beach that day.
Steve Johnson, from Leicester, said: “We saw what we believe was a second terrorist. It was a guy in red shorts, walking down from the hotel into the pool area. He just had red shorts on, nothing else on his legs or his feet or his body.
“He had an automatic rifle in his arms and people were just running from him. We know that he wasn’t the original terrorist, the one in black, because my colleague had seen that man. He initially thought he was a policeman but he saw him shooting down people on the beach.
“It was pretty horrific. We stayed there until the firing had stopped.”
At the beach outside the Imperial Marhaba hotel yesterday (Monday) three heart-shaped wells in the sand were brimming with flowers while children built sandcastles near by.