‘I’ll never forget the scene’: Sri Lankan cricketer recalls bomb attack horror
The 27-year-old all-rounder was due to attend the Sunday service St Sebastian’s Church in his hometown of Negombo, but suddenly canceled his plans as he was tired from traveling the day before.
The abrupt decision to stay at home possibly saved the athlete’s life, as the church was later devastated by a deadly blast, becoming one of six churches and hotels targeted by suicide bombers on April 21.
“Normally I would have gone to church… (but) I was tired,” the cricketer said. “That morning, when I was at my house, I heard a sound, and then people were saying a bomb had gone off at the church. I rushed there, and I’ll never forget the scene.
“The entire church was destroyed, absolutely shattered, and people were dragging lifeless bodies outside,” Shanaka added.
Immediately after the blast, the cricketer rushed to the church looking for his mother and grandmother, who attended the Easter service. He said that both of them survived the horrible attack, adding, however, that his grandmother needed a surgery after being hit in the head with shrapnel.
The terrorist attacks killed more than 350 people and injured more than 500, leaving the island nation in a state of shock and horror on Easter Sunday.