Second blast was just 3 metres from us: Chinese witnesses recount Ataturk airport attack in Istanbul

Police manning a checkpoint at Ataturk's international terminal shot at two of the attackers, a Turkish official said, adding that a third bomber detonated explosives in a parking lot. All three died. Photograph:( Getty )

Reuters Istanbul, Turkey Jun 29, 2016, 09.10 AM (IST)
Passengers who had witnessed the multiple suicide bombs and gunshots that rocked Turkey's largest airport in Istanbul on Tuesday night recounted the deadly attack to China Central Television (CCTV).

Ataturk airport partially opened early today morning.

Several witnesses recalled what happened during the moments of chaos during a bombing attack that, according to Turkish officials, caused 36 deaths and wounded 150 others.

"I was waiting for my boarding pass at the counter of Turkish Airlines when I heard the first gunshot. And many passengers looked in the direction of the gunshot sound, and began to run for safety after the second gunshot. I threw all my belongings to the ground and lay down following the others. After arriving at a safe place, we found many people already there - the elderly, kids and passengers from different countries. Then we heard more gunshots and a blast, the only blast we heard. After about 10 minutes, the airport staff came and brought us to an emergency shelter or something like that. It was kind of like a dining room but drinking water and quilts were all transferred there for emergency use. We stayed there for about one-and-a half hour before getting out. We saw a lot of blood on the way out. There were shards of broken glass from the foreign currency exchange counter and bodies on the ground as well," said a witness from China.

"We were queuing up in the terminal when the first gunshot came. We didn't think much at first, but saw many people running towards our direction. We all lay down at once and saw someone entering the terminal, firing, and the police fired as well. Then the first blast occurred and the second blast was only three meters away from us," said another Chinese witness.

A third witness corroborated the many accounts of two explosions along with gunshots, and said that after a few minutes, he was led to a basement, where he and others stayed for about an hour.

Police manning a checkpoint at the airport’s international terminal shot at two of the attackers as they approached, a Turkish official said, adding that a third bomber detonated explosives in the nearby parking lot.

Turkey’s Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim, blamed the Islamic State group for the assault, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

All three bombers were killed.