11th busiest airport gets reduced to blood, chaos

AGENCIES
Published Jun 30, 2016, 12:43 am IST
Updated Jun 30, 2016, 6:56 am IST
Tuesday night, witnesses to the terror carnage described scenes of blind panic and stomach-churning terror.
Children and their relatives embrace as they leave Ataturk airport shortly after the attacks 	(Photo: AFP)
 Children and their relatives embrace as they leave Ataturk airport shortly after the attacks (Photo: AFP)

Istanbul: Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. In fact, it’s the 11th busiest handling 61,836,781 passengers every year.

But on Tuesday night, witnesses to the terror carnage described scenes of blind panic and stomach-churning terror.

 

A petrified honeymoon couple hugged each other inside a hair salon cupboard as shots rang out outside, praying the gunmen rampaging through Istanbul's airport would not find them.

Lawrence Cameron, a British photographer, was one of the first to capture the chaos seconds after the attacks.

Security cameras captured passengers scattering desperately on Tuesday evening as a huge ball of flame erupted at one entrance. Other footage showed a black-clad gunman blowing himself up after apparently being floored by a hero policeman's bullet.

Otfah Mohamed Abdullah was checking her luggage in when she saw one of the attackers pull out a hidden gun and begin shooting. “He's shooting up, two times, and he’s beginning to shoot people like that. And then my sister was running I don't know which way. She was running and after that I was falling down, I was on the ground until he finished. Until now I can't find my sister and I don't have anything, everything (I have) is inside.”

Two South African tourists, Paul and Susie Roos, were also at the airport and due to fly home at the time of the explosions and were making their way up to the departure hall, a floor above arrivals.

“We came up from the arrivals to the departures, up the escalator when we heard these shots going off,' Mr Roos told news agencies. There was this guy going roaming around, he was dressed in black and he had a hand gun. We came right to international departures and saw the man randomly shooting. He was just firing at anyone coming in front of him. His face was not masked. I was 50 metres away from him.”

Turkey was holding the first of the funerals on Wednesday and hundreds had gathered to mourn the dead. The government has ordered all flags at half-staff.

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