Loved ones look for explosion victims

PHOTO: Reuters

In the wake of the Tianjin blasts that shook the port city Wednesday night, the hospitals tending to the injured witnessed many emotionally devastating scenes, as relatives grappled with their loved ones' fates, whether they were dead or missing.

A woman said her son was blown away by the blast waves when he ran out of the dormitory as soon as he heard the explosion.

Her son's legs were hurt badly. "He couldn't continue running and something big hit him right in his head," the woman said.

She was watching her son's vitals fading on the way to the hospital with her husband. She fell unconscious when she heard the confirmation of her son's death in the hospital.

Now she doesn't know where her son's body is.

"Are you heading to the emergency room or morgue?" a hospital staff asked her. She didn't answer and tried very hard to walk with two staff's support to the end of the hallway in the hospital.

A hearse pulled over outside the other exit of the hallway.

She is not alone in her despair.

A woman, who only revealed her last name Bian, held her brother's cell phone tightly. He had gone missing after the catastrophic blast.

Bian and another five family members rushed to Tianjin to look for her brother since she couldn't reach him by phone. Her brother worked where the blast happened.

They failed to find him in any of the three hospitals treating the injured but came across the brother's co-workers.

The co-workers left Bian her brother's cell phone in the morning.

Bian strongly believes her brother is fine since he could ask others to hand his cellphone to her.

"Too many people come here to look for their loved ones like them," a hospital worker sighed. She has a notebook registering dozens of pages of missing people.

The hospital lobby looks crowded and busy. Local companies hand out free bottled water and box lunches as volunteers help the injured and their relatives.

Every time when the ambulance siren blares outside the hospital, the medics and volunteers clear the passage to let the stretchers pass through quickly.

Emotions are running high and many people are in despair.

"No photos! Get out of here if you take one more!" Medics and other people cried at people trying take photographs.

Journalists were pushed around by people when they tried to take photographs of the first aid and treatment.

Some relatives broke down and took it out harshly on the staff: "Did you help me contact people as you promised?"

All they can do is wait. Many relatives shed tears quietly.

In the afternoon, Bian found her brother's co-worker again but now her hope is running thin. . According to the co-worker, her brother's cell phone was handed over from firefighters to him then to Bian.

According to the co-worker, her brother was in a severe coma when firefighters took the cell phone from him when the phone started ringing.

"Hopefully we can identify him by his key chained to his waist if he got burned," Bian prayed, in hopelessness.