'You can still smell the gunpowder': Singaporean eyewitness in Istanbul airport

An eyewitness captured the scene outside the airport where security personnel surrounded a coach
PHOTO: Gullnaz Baig

A Singaporean currently in Istanbul's main international airport spoke to AsiaOne about what is going on there after the explosions happened.

News reports said three suicide bombers opened fire before blowing themselves up in Ataturk airport. Over 30 people have been killed and more than 145 wounded.

Gullnaz Baig, 31, was on a Turkish airline flight from London that arrived in Istanbul when the explosions happened.

She didn't see the explosions but the flight was grounded due to it. The plane landed at Ataturk airport around 10.20pm Turkish time (3.20am Singapore time), said Ms Baig.

Ms Baig told AsiaOne over Whatsapp: "A few guys who landed a little before us said they heard explosions. The actual attacks happened close to the main entrance of the airport international terminal. We've all been stranded here since."

The PhD student from London School of Economics was headed home to Singapore for her summer holidays as well as to celebrate the upcoming Hari Raya.

She said security personnel have "cordoned the attack area off and are cleaning up now, but you can still smell the gunpowder."

"It's been chaos, the airport is still under high alert", and there are "loads of security services around," Ms Baig added.

She said "the security services were surrounding a coach this morning" and "they were still hunting people down."

She pointed out that "the Turkish airport staff are as much grappling with the suddenness of everything as we are".

She feels there "could have been better communication and, perhaps, provision of, at least, sufficient water for those stranded" at the airport.

But Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs did call her to give her some reassurance, she said.

Despite the chaos, Ms Baig said "people were generally nice supporting one another."

spanaech@sph.com.sg

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