A SOLDIER from Hereford has described how his army training helped him to stay calm and step in to help victims of the Las Vegas massacre.

Trooper Zak Davidson, 21, was on a three-day Rest and Recuperation period in the city following training exercises when a gunman opened fire on a crowd of people who were attending a country music festival.

The former Aylestone High School pupil was staying at the Hooters Hotel, close to where the attack happened, and was having dinner ahead of going into the city when a woman ran into the restaurant crying and screaming.

He said: "No one could understand what she was saying, we originally thought a celebrity had entered the casino or something similar so didn’t pay much attention at first, until a huge crowd of people came running through the casino in a panic, knocking over chairs, jumping over tables and hiding anywhere they could."

Zak and two other Troopers went out to investigate and were told various things – including that there had been a shooting, that a gunman was outside and there was a bomb.

"That’s when we realised that something was obviously happening and we could possibly help," he said.

"Shortly after I went to the entrance of the casino we were split up; an off duty American police officer was trying to direct people away from the front of the casino because that’s where we originally thought the incident had happened, down the street from the casino.

"After finding out that it had happened behind the casino and down the street a few hundred metres and we were most likely not going to be in the line of fire we stopped directing people away and started reassuring people.

"Some were in shock and some had minor injuries from falling, climbing over things to escape or being trampled."

Shortly after, ambulances arrived to collect the worst injured people and Zak helped to get casualties, some of whom had gunshot wounds, into the ambulance at the front of the casino.

Zak, who has been in the army for four-and-a-half half years in total and has served three years with his regiment, 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards based in Norfolk, said: "After that it was just reassuring people who were in shock, worried for their friends and family or that had seen their friends had been shot and taken away by ambulances.

"There were no superiors there, all the soldiers involved were Troopers with no operational experience – just their army training that kicked in. The training I [had] received helped immensely, being able to keep a cool head while hundreds of people were panicking and running for their lives in the other direction.

"My training was vital and helped to calm people that were panicking around us. Our first aid training helped to prioritise who needed help the most and get them to ambulances as a priority over those who were not too badly injured."

The mass shooting was the worst in modern US history and left 58 people dead. The gunman, Stephen Paddock, died at the scene from a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound.