‘I saw a terrorist shooting people’: Turkish airport eyewitnesses describe harrowing scenes to RT
Ahmed Furkan Gurtuna, who works as a traffic police officer at the airport and was at passport control at the moment of the attack, gave RT a firsthand account of the horrendous events that played out before his eyes.
“I saw how one terrorist accessed the airport, and he had an AK47 and shot civilians… Turkish police wanted to kill him, and after that I heard the bomb explosion,” he said.
Commenting on the adequacy of security at the airport, Gurtuna said that he believes Turkey’s major airport is a safe hub and didn’t know what had led to the incident.
“I don’t know what happened, what can we do sometimes for this reason, some terrorists and some international terrorists want to attack and it happened.”
However, despite the tight security at Europe’s third-busiest air hub and even being shot by airport police, the assailants managed to almost reach the security checkpoints of the arrivals hall and detonate their explosive devices.
CCTV cameras captured the moment one of the attackers was shot by a security officer, but still managed to trigger the massive blast.
It is believed that the attack was perpetrated by at least three suicide bombers, according to Reuters.
Later, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim confirmed the reports, saying three attackers had opened fire before detonating their explosive vests.
A local eyewitness at the scene recalled the gruesome details of the attack she experienced, narrowly escaping the fate of those who were killed.
“I saw wounded people falling to the ground in front of me, four people fell down, they were torn to pieces,” she said.
As the attackers were shooting randomly at people instigating chaos and panic in the crowd, people were searching for a safe place but were hardly able to find any, another eyewitness recalls.
There have been conflicting reports as to the number of blasts and gunshots that turned the airport into a scene of carnage.
“We were working in our office, I was on the night shift, and at first we heard about 10 gunshots, then the first explosion, we left the office and tried to escape, then a second bomb went off and then there were scares everywhere,” said a local worker.
Alaattin Kilic, a Turkey-based journalist, described the sentiment prevailing at the scene of the terror attack as “a total drama.”
“So many people who are fainting right now and the mood here is a total drama,” he said, reporting from the scene.
The ordinary citizens and people, fearing for the lives of their dear ones “came here with a terrifying look on their faces,” the journalist added.
“You are able to see a lot of people on their face they are mourning their loved ones, and people who are crying… who are in horrible position.”
Three blasts targeted Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on Tuesday, killing 41 people and injuring 239. The majority of the victims were Turkish nationals, but there were also foreigners among the dead, officials say. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan strongly condemned the bombings, urging the international community to unite against terrorism, as Turkey`s PM confirmed that the initial evidence points to Islamic State’s complicity in the crime.