After the terrorist attack, Istanbul airport was ruled by horror, chaos and general lack of information about what happened, says a Latvian tourist whose aircraft landed at Istanbul airport shortly before the attack.
The witness, who wished to remain anonymous, said that her aircraft landed at Ataturk airport around 21:30 local time. After the landing, she went inside the airport’s building. That’s when people started running in the opposite direction, trying to find shelter. There was no official report about the attack. Several hundred people were blocked off in the airport’s corridor. They remained there until they were finally allowed to leave the airport grounds.
«When we arrived, we went for the exit. Fortunately, we stopped to sort our things and wash hands. We weren’t close to the source of the explosion. Although the airport is a big place, at some point people started screaming, crying and running in the opposite direction. It was terrifying. People were screaming ‘bomb, bomb’. There were people in wheelchairs and children. Everyone was looking for a place to hide. Then we found out that was no way out. We were basically trapped in that part of the corridor. We had no idea what was going on and if someone was coming to kill us. The airport’s loudspeakers were silent as well. People were looking for information on social networks and media, but there was very little information. I can’t describe the kind of fear I felt. People were afraid to even speak to one another,» – the woman described the situation.
Airport security came after several hours. We heard and announcement that everything was over and that we could leave. People were still worried even after leaving the airport. No one knew what they would see at the site of the attack.
«We showed our passports, but we weren’t allowed to leave the terminal immediately. Once we were finally allowed to leave, we had to walk on glass, pieces of clothes, shoes and a lot of blood. We saw people being put in ambulances. Authorities had set up safe corridors to avoid crowds and obstruct the way,» – she continued.
Later people she met in the city expressed shock about terrorist attacks. They also said we should not focus on the past, but rather live on, the woman continued. Locals were also very helpful: there were many doctors and police cars around the airport. Some airport worker offered to drive Latvian passengers away from the airport.
«Istanbul is a large city. I think most people didn’t even know what had happened. They thought it was somewhere far away,» – said the witness.
Turkish law enforcement authorities continue surveying the area to assess the extent of the damage.
The witness plans to follow information about the restoration of the security situation at the airport to return to Latvia.