I tremble even now, says blast survivor Rajeev Fernando
Rameswaram: Rajeev Fernando, who miraculously escaped a bomb blast in a church in Colombo on Easter Sunday, is back at his home in Thangachimadam here by “God’s grace”. “I may have returned home safely, but my being trembles even now,” he told DC, sharing an eyewitness account of the sickeningly horrific multiple blasts which rocked the Sri Lankan capital on Sunday and at few other places killing over 300 persons.
“I had been to Colombo on April 17 to take part in a condolence in a close family friend’s house; after that function, on April 21, I was about to leave for India that afternoon; since that day happened to be Easter Sunday after Good Friday and as my flight was only at 2-40 pm, I went to pray at St. Anthony's Church in Kochakadai area in Colombo around 8 am,” recalled Fernando.
“After participating in the special mass, around 8-40 am, it was terribly unexpected as a bomb went off at the entrance to the church with a deafening noise, shaking the entire structure. I was at the sixth row inside the church and ran out to see what happened; a large number of people had fallen dead, soaked in a pool of blood. Many of them looked like foreign tourists,” he said.
“Even before one could retrieve from this shock, there was information pouring in about similar blasts taken place in churches in Negombo, north of Colombo, and in Batticaloa, besides at the start hotels in Colombo - Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotels, killing hundreds of people,” recalled Fernando in fright.
“Police personnel and the Army who rushed to these spots took up relief work immediately and having brought the entire area under the Army's control sent all the injured to various hospitals,” said Fernando. “I was totally shaken, but my friends retrieved me and safely took me to the airport. The scale and ferocity of the blasts, the blood-splattered scenes and deaths still haunt me,” he sobbed.