A doctor who works for Turkey’s emergency services described the devastation after the suicide bombings that left dozens of people dead and hundreds injured at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on Tuesday night.
“One bomb exploded right at the security check point,” the doctor, who asked to remain anonymous, told Epoch Times in an interview. “I heard that one of the terrorists … started shooting” as people ran away, she said, adding that the assailant then detonated his bomb.
The doctor indicated that she helped injured people outside of the terminal where taxis usually wait, but some of her colleagues went inside to help people near the passport control point.
“There were many injured and dead people in these two areas,” she said.
The process of dealing with the injured “was very difficult for me,” she said. Doctors and emergency workers had to make the “decision whether they will survive or not. I walked over many dead bodies. [It was a ] very terrible feeling.”
Three terrorists attacked the international arrivals hall and a nearby parking lot with gunfire and bombs. According to Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu, the death toll has risen to 41 and the injury toll was 239. Around 109 people have since been discharged from hospitals.
“When we were working there, we had no idea if there would be further explosions or not,” the doctor said. “I worked at the airport until 3 a.m.”
The doctor added that most of those who were injured or dead were foreigners and “mainly Arabs.”
“They were in panic. They were injured either because of gunshot [wounds] or because of … explosions,” the doctor said, adding that people who were near the explosion had all died and their bodies were “shredded.”
“It was a mess, chaos. People were running around unconsciously.”
Five taxi drivers who were waiting outside the terminal were also killed, as one of the terrorists detonated the bomb near the taxi waiting area, the doctor said. According to the Hurriyet Daily News, one of the taxi drivers killed was 51-year-old Mustafa Bıyıklı.
The state-run Zaman newspaper reported that the assailants arrived at the airport in a taxi and started opening fire. At least one of the terrorists got past airport security and detonated his bomb.
When asked how one of the terrorist got past the checkpoint, the doctor said she “asked the same question.”
The security guards, she said, don’t have guns and ran away after the terrorists began shooting. Airport police officers are armed—that’s how one of the attackers crossed the security checkpoint and detonated their explosives as passengers were waiting, she said.
The next day, the scene was “very quiet” as workers began the process of fixing ceilings at the airport. “The ceilings collapsed inside the terminal because of the explosions.”
The airport has since been reopened, and repair work is underway, the news agency said. A day of mourning was also initiated by the prime minister’s office.
Turkish officials, including Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, have indicated that the ISIS terrorist group may be responsible for the attacks.