More than three hours of 911 calls released Wednesday show the desperation of those stuck inside Pulse nightclub, who were questioning why police did not storm the club sooner.
At times, those huddling inside bathrooms the morning of June 12 could hear police walkie-talkies on the other side of the brick wall, which was the only obstacle preventing their freedom from the bullet-ridden stalls where gunman Omar Mateen was still lurking.
"Can someone please come here ... they are getting worse," a caller pleaded to a police dispatcher at 4:55 a.m. "Where are they? I don't understand. Everyone's getting worse. Where are they?"
Police officials said Wednesday they understand there are still questions about the events of June 12. But they said they did all they could to get to the victims as quickly as possible.
"Officers from our agency and others, and members of SWAT, were inside of Pulse extracting and saving dozens of people after shots were initially fired and when the gunman was holding hostages in the bathrooms," a police spokeswoman told the Orlando Sentinel.
They also say that though there were reports that Mateen was readying to shoot again, the last time he fired was sometime between 2:10 and 2:18 a.m.
Police eventually breached the club about 5 a.m. by detonating several explosives on a wall along the west side of the building, allowing those trapped to escape. The breach also led to a shootout that left Mateen dead.
By the end of the night, 49 people had died and at least 68 were injured.
At 2:19 a.m., just 15 minutes after the shooting started, a man calls 911 pleading for help amid screaming in the back of the call. "[The shooter is] gonna kill us," the caller said. "Please come, they're screaming."
A man hiding inside a dressing room called 911 at 2:57 a.m. pleading for officers to help him, telling a dispatcher "Please. It's been an hour almost." Then he tells the dispatcher he hears Mateen on the other side of the dressing room door reloading a gun.
Another caller at 4:12 a.m. says he is texting with someone who says the gunman is "getting ready to shoot," but still police did not enter the bathroom area where Mateen had barricaded himself with a number of victims, some of whom had been shot.
Throughout the ordeal, dispatchers promised those trapped in bathrooms, the kitchen and an upstairs office that officers were on their way and helping rescue people as quickly as they could. Dispatchers tried to keep callers calm and told them to stay put until officers got there.
But as the hours passed, callers got restless.
In a call at 3:29 a.m., a dispatcher keeps telling a man inside the club to "stay put." Several hiding with him wanted to run out the door. "Please. My friends are trying to escape," the man told the dispatcher in a breathless whisper.
The dispatcher tells him to be as quiet as he can and that "it's not safe to leave that room. We might mistake you for a bad guy. We don't want you to get hurt, OK?"
"Be strong. Be strong," the man inside the nightclub tells himself. Then he hears screaming.
"I think it's the shooter," the man tells the dispatcher. "Please, I'm so scared."
He wonders if the 911 call is being recorded, so his family will know he loves them. "I love them all," he tells the dispatcher.
"We're doing our best to get you to your family," the dispatcher says. "We just need you to say put."
Then the man says he hears someone coming.
"Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God!" the man whispers frantically.
"What's going on? Hello?" the dispatcher asks. "Is that the police?"
After a brief silence, muddled voices are heard in the background. "The cops got us out," the man says, now speaking in his regular voice and no longer whispering.
"You did a great job," the dispatcher tells him.
"Thank you so much. I appreciate everything," the man tells the dispatcher at the end of the 15-minute call.
One caller got frustrated and felt that police weren't doing their due diligence to rescue them.
A dispatcher says at 2:57 a.m. that in order to rescue the caller, police have to get past the bathrooms where Mateen was holed up.
"I'm just giving you an update of what's going on so you guys understand. We're not leaving you there; we're not leaving [you] abandoned; we just have to safely get to you," he tells the caller.
In a call that spans more than an hour and a half, a dispatcher tries to calm a woman trapped with seven others in a dressing room. She tells the dispatcher there is an air-conditioning unit that they can push out.
The woman repeatedly asks about escaping by removing the air-conditioning unit. The dispatcher transfers her to an officer to help ease her anxiety.
The officer explains that since the gunman isn't actively shooting, they "have a little bit of a stalemate" but officers are working to get her out.
The woman says "a lot of people" are trapped with her. The officer says to "hold each other's hands. Breathe together. Take deep breaths together."
This was the third batch of calls released this week, in response to an Oct. 31 ruling from a public-records lawsuit by the Orlando Sentinel and about two dozen other media companies. Another 36 came Monday, and 21 on Tuesday. More than 100 other files are still expected to be released in either audio or transcript form.
Staff Writers Stephanie Allen, Sandy Csizmar, Caitlin Doornbos, Ryan Gillespie, David Harris, Iliana Limón Romero, Gal Tziperman Lotan, Leslie Postal, Janet Brindle Reddick, Gabrielle Russon and Rene Stutzman contributed to this report.