How I survived during terrorist attack on my birthday

Azaliya Dautova

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Some stories are hard to tell, but important to share. So I decided to speak out about one of the most difficult and terrifying moments of my life, when I became a victim of a terrorist attack. I would like to share this story because it taught me a few things which might be useful to somebody.

I have never thought that this story would ever happen to me. But, unfortunately, terrorism is one of the most spread harms which brings a threat to a million of people today.

It happened right on the day of my birthday on June summer 2016. I was on my summer holidays  with my family in Turkey (Alanya) and had a flight back home to Russia, when accident happened. As there was no direct flight from Alanya to the city where I live in Russia (Turkey and Russia had difficult relationship that time), I got a transfer flight via Istanbul airport (Ataturk).

One thing that I have learnt from this situation is that life always send us some signs which we should pay attention to. We got a call from the airline company the day before the flight, saying that our flight postpones one hour earlier.

As we walked into the airport, we didn’t realise that this one hour would safe our lives.

Turkey. Terrorist attack. June. Photo credit: Maxim Fedorov
Turkey. Terrorist attack. June. Photo credit: Maxim Fedorov

We started noticing that something goes wrong while waiting for a boarding beside our gate (which was on the ground floor). Airport staff started running, some of them were crying. We saw a lot of police cars and ambulance driving outside of the airport. One of the airport staff told me “there are two explosions on the first flour and a few terrorists inside of the building so we need to be careful”. And then we sudenly heard shooting. Everybody started running, crowd of people began. People broke windows and gate exits in order to run out of the airport.  We started running as well. Everybody screamed. We saw people laying on the floor with injuries, some of them were killed.

Ataturk airport. Photo credit: Maxim Fedorov
Ataturk airport. Photo credit: Maxim Fedorov

The moment which stands in front of my eyes is the broken window falling on me. Fortunately, I managed to go out before it fell. We were standing outside right on the runway with other people.  Airport staffs said that in order to go out from the airport we need to go through passport control at first. We have been informed that terrorists blew themselves up but there is still one among us. We were siting under the small table and looking for the ways to get out of the airport. I was holding my niece and nephew who were 7 and 5 years old.

Ataturk airport. Photo credit: Maxim Fedorov
Ataturk airport. Photo credit: Maxim Fedorov

The second thing I understood that you should always rely on yourself. We called to the airline company, Russian embassy in Turkey, both of which said that they can’t really help us as we shouldn’t been flying through Turkey due to the conflict between our countries.

We went through passport control and, fortunately, got out from the airport.

Later on, we got many calls from Russian media to talk about the accident. And thinking of this situation, we realised that we have been so lucky…

Going to the past, we realised that when we did some shopping  in the Duty Free, my sister suddenly felt that she didn’t want to buy anything and she forced us to go to our gate. After the accident, we checked the time when our last purchase was made (which was 21:55), and the explosion was at 22:00 right in this place.

Looking at this situation now, I think that I was reborn that day. The third thing I can be sure now that life is the best gift we could be given, so no matter what situation you have, you should be glad to live and be alive.

 

 

 

 

 

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Azaliya Dautova