Saturday 10 December 2016

'Mass of people at once running... saying that another bomb was coming' - Irish student describes 'stampede' and panic in Brussels airport

Published 22/03/2016 | 08:44

Luke Mac an Bhaird
Luke Mac an Bhaird

An Irish student on Erasmus in Brussels has described the panic that ensued after a bombing at Brussels airport this morning.

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Law and politics student Luke Mac an Bháird said the crowd at Gate B at Brussels Airport were evacuated to the back of the terminal after the two separate explosions.

The crowd were first told to remain put, before they were evacuated to a tarmac area at the back of the terminal.

He described how a stampede began as panic set in.

"I was at Gate D when it happened. I was listening to music, I didn't actually hear the explosion but there was a lot of panic and people running with their children.

"There was just a mass of people at once running to the bottom of the gates, they were saying that another bomb was coming," he told the Anton Savage Show on TodayFM.

Handout photo taken with permission from the Twitter feed of @davidcrunelle of the scene at Brussels Airport after two explosions were heard
Handout photo taken with permission from the Twitter feed of @davidcrunelle of the scene at Brussels Airport after two explosions were heard

"I didn't know what was going on. It was very confusing."

Mr Mac An Bháird described scenes of panic in the airport as people were evacuated.

In this image provided by Daniela Schwarzer, smoke is seen at Brussels airport in Brussels, Belgium, after explosions were heard Tuesday, March 22, 2016
In this image provided by Daniela Schwarzer, smoke is seen at Brussels airport in Brussels, Belgium, after explosions were heard Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"They've put us on a bus and [parked] at the side of the runway. They've evacuated everyone to the tarmac in the last hour or so.

"When they were moving us from the gate to the tarmac on the runway, there was hundreds of people queued up at the tunnel as if they were going to [board a plane] but we were going out through an exit door.

Picture taken with permission from the Facebook site of Jef Versele showing the aftermath of this morning's explosions at Brussels airport
Picture taken with permission from the Facebook site of Jef Versele showing the aftermath of this morning's explosions at Brussels airport

"People started to scream and run again and there was a bit of a stampede towards the tarmac.

"Fortunately I didn't see any injuries... I went straight through security to wait for my flight but there was a lot of hysteria. It was quite a scary moment.

Picture taken with permission from the Facebook site of Jef Versele showing the aftermath of this morning's explosions at Brussels airport
Picture taken with permission from the Facebook site of Jef Versele showing the aftermath of this morning's explosions at Brussels airport

The Erasmus student said that the response from airport officials was "immediate".

"Ever since what happened in Paris last year, there's always an army presence [in Brussells]. Even this morning when I got the train to go to the airport the army was there but there was nothing different today though to suggest that something was [about to happen].

"What really put it into perspective for me was hearing thousands of people shouting all at once," he said.

"It was very surreal... it was like everything was going in slow motion for the first ten seconds."

Mr Mac An Bháird has said that the passengers waiting on the runway have not been advised on where they will be transported to.

"There's been no information about where we will be transported to. There's about six or seven ambulances coming in right now."

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Mac an Bháird said; "There was about 100, 150 people there and we were told there was a bomb going off in the airport. People were quite scared and there were a load of people crying.

Passengers are evacuated from Brussels airport, on March 22, 2016 in Zaventem, after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers are evacuated from Brussels airport, on March 22, 2016 in Zaventem, after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Belgian emergency vehicles arrive at the Brussels Airport in Zaventem, on March 22, 2016, after a string of explosions rocked Brussels airport and a city metro station, killing at least 21 people, as Belgium raised its terror threat to the maximum level. AFP PHOTO / THIERRY MONASSETHIERRY MONASSE/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers wait, on March 22, 2016 near Brussels airport in Zaventem , following its evacuation after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Flags being put at half mast outside European Commission Credit: Twitter
Passengers are evacuated from Brussels airport, on March 22, 2016 in Zaventem, after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers are evacuated from Brussels airport, on March 22, 2016 in Zaventem, after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers are evacuated from Brussels airport, on March 22, 2016 in Zaventem, after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers board a bus as they evacuate the Brussels Airport in Zaventem, on March 22, 2016, after a string of explosions rocked Brussels airport and a city metro station, killing at least 21 people, as Belgium raised its terror threat to the maximum level. AFP PHOTO / THIERRY MONASSETHIERRY MONASSE/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers are evacuated from Brussels airport, on March 22, 2016 in Zaventem, after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers are evacuated from Brussels airport, on March 22, 2016 in Zaventem, after at least 13 people were killed and 35 injured as twin blasts rocked the main terminal of Brussels airport.AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers evacuate the Brussels Airport in Zaventem, on March 22, 2016, after a string of explosions rocked Brussels airport and a city metro station, killing at least 21 people, as Belgium raised its terror threat to the maximum level. AFP PHOTO / THIERRY MONASSETHIERRY MONASSE/AFP/Getty Images
Firefighters arrive at a security perimeter set near Maalbeek metro station, on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, after a blast at this station near the EU institutions caused deaths and injuries. AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNANDEMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images
Passengers evacuate the Brussels Airport in Zaventem, on March 22, 2016, after a string of explosions rocked Brussels airport and a city metro station, killing at least 21 people, as Belgium raised its terror threat to the maximum level. AFP PHOTO / THIERRY MONASSETHIERRY MONASSE/AFP/Getty Images
A police officers sets a security perimeter near Maalbeek metro station, on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, after a blast at this station near the EU institutions caused deaths and injuries. AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNANDEMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images
A police officers sets a security perimeter near Maalbeek metro station, on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, after a blast at this station near the EU institutions caused deaths and injuries. AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNANDEMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images
People are evacuated from Brussels Airport, in Zaventem, on March 22, 2016 after two explosions in a hall of the airport. AFP PHOTO / BELGA / DIRK WAEM / Belgium OUTDIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images
An armed policeman secures the access to the terminal area of the Frankfurt Airport, on March 22, 2016, in Frankfurt, western Germany. AFP PHOTO / DPA / Boris Roessler / Germany OUTBORIS ROESSLER/AFP/Getty Images

"There was very little being said to us only to run to the back.

"We're out at this tarmac area now and we're waiting for a bus to bring us somewhere."

A Sky News journalist at the scene reported security at the airport to be requesting people to leave their hand luggage and head out of the building immediately.

Sky News television’s Alex Rossi was at the scene and said he heard two very loud explosions.

“I could feel the building move. There was also dust and smoke as well … I went towards where the explosion came from and there were people coming out looking very dazed and shocked,” he said.

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