Wellington, Nov 28 NZPA - Concerns are held for two New Zealanders who remain holed up in the Oberoi Hotel in besieged Mumbai , Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says.
Mr McCully, speaking on Radio New Zealand this morning, said his advice was no New Zealanders were among the more than 100 dead.
Also no Kiwis were among the injured or being held hostage.
Among the dead were at least one Australian, a Japanese and a Briton. The gunmen were believed to be targeting foreigners.
The New Zealand couple -- believed to be David and Vinka Clemmett -- were at the Oberoi and unable to leave.
"The circumstances in which they are currently located are not great but they have been spoken to recently by our people and they are calm but obviously we've got some concerns about the location they are placed in," Mr McCully said.
Contact had been made via cellphone. The Oberoi was attacked at the same time as an assault on the Taj Mahal Hotel. Commandos entered the hotel on several occasions during the night, resulting in exchanges of gunfire.
As of 8am (1600 NZT), at least half a dozen foreign hostages were believed to still be held in the hotel by an unknown number of gunmen.
Mfat was trying to track down any other New Zealanders who might be in the area.
"There's obviously a high risk in Mumbai and my advice to anyone who is thinking of going to India at all is just to look carefully at events and make sure there is prudent thought given before getting anywhere close to Mumbai at the present time," Mr McCully said.
Family and friends should try contact directly anyone they were concerned about and if they could not get through to talk to Mfat.
New Zealand man Greg Davey was caught up in unrest in Thailand and India.
He was due to fly to New Zealand, from Mumbai, for Christmas, but his flight was cancelled after anti-government protesters stormed Bangkok international airport.
Delayed in Mumbai he came within 200m of the terrorist attacks targeted at foreigners in the Indian city.
The former Hawke's Bay rugby referee trainer and his wife, Kim, are living in Mumbai. Mr Davey is 10 months into a three-year contract with Rugby India, the New Zealand Herald reported.
"We heard one blast and I felt the vibrations. I went `shit, I wonder what that is', and then we heard another one. It was like being very close to two shotguns going off, but more rumbly and more deep because you could feel it.
"The frightening thing is that we were here on the street last night shopping, where these bombs went off. One of the places that's been attacked, Leopold's, we had dinner at last night. It's probably the most famous restaurant in Mumbai," he said.
Indian media said a group called Deccan Mujahideen had claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) has upgraded its travel advisory to Mumbai to high risk from some risk, and advised New Zealanders against all tourist and non-essential travel to Mumbai.
Mfat said tonight it had received inquiries about 64 New Zealanders thought to be in Mumbai.
"Forty seven of those have been confirmed as safe and well and we are still making inquiries about 17. Not all these are necessarily in Mumbai."
The ministry said separate to that, 53 New Zealanders were registered with it as being in Mumbai.
"We have confirmed that 15 of those are safe and well. We are still making inquiries about the 38 remaining."
It said it was not aware of any casualties but was continuing to seek information about the situation of New Zealanders who might be in the area.
The New Zealand High Commission is sending two consular officials from New Delhi to provide an on-the-ground presence in Mumbai.
Christchurch businessman Stuart Cameron was in the lobby restaurant of the Oberoi Hotel having dinner when he heard gunshots.
"As we were about to leave we heard a short burst of automatic gunfire coming from the adjacent lobby. The mood in the restaurant went immediately silent as everyone was in a state of shock, wondering if it really was gunfire or fire-crackers going off," he told the Christchurch Press.
The diners and staff fled to the kitchen and were taken to the basement.
While in the basement they heard several other blasts.
"People were calm, there was sense of fear each time a blast shook the building but it was more the unnerving sense of not knowing what exactly was going on which concerned the crowd. Everyone was pumped on adrenalin knowing that we may have to take flight at any time."
Police eventually arrived to evacuate the hotel and the group was escorted from the hotel and spent the rest of the night in a carpark.
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