Woman Taking Wedding Pictures Captures Massive Explosion in Beirut

beirut

A Lebanese couple was in the middle of a wedding celebration when the massive explosion rocked Beirut, Lebanon on Tuesday.

Thankful to be alive: Israa Seblani, a 29-year-old newlywed, was posing for her wedding photos when a video of the shoot captured the deafening roar from the explosion.

  • The footage meant to celebrate Seblani’s marriage to 34-year-old businessman Ahmad Subeih, also captured the shocking moment of the blast. 
  • Seblani, who works as a doctor in the United States, arrived in the city a few weeks ago for her wedding, responded to the explosion by helping to check on the injured in her area. 
  • Mahmoud Nakib, the cameraman for the wedding, captured the scenes as the couple rushed into a side street.
  • Soon after the blast, the couple tried to carry on with their celebrations.
  • “My husband told me to continue, we can’t stop. I was like okay, why not, we continue. I was not living the moment actually, I was, like walking, my face was smiling, my lips were smiling, that’s it, not more. Then we went to have dinner.”
  • In an interview with Reuters, the couple narrated how the incident affected them the next day. 
  • “I have been preparing for my big day for two weeks and I was so happy like all other girls, ‘I am getting married’. My parents are going to be happy seeing me in a white dress, I will be looking like a princess,” Seblani was quoted as saying.
  • The experience was terrifying for both who thought the explosion might kill them at the time.
  • “I was shocked, I was wondering what happened, am I going to die? How am I going to die?” she added.
  • Subeih, who is now waiting for his visa so he can live with his new wife in the U.S., says he was reminded of the confusion surrounding the blast.
  • “We started to walk around and it was extremely sad, it was not describable by the devastation and the sound of the explosion,” he said.“We are still in shock … I have never heard anything similar to the sound of this explosion.”
  • “There is a lot of damage, many people were killed and wounded. But also if I want to look at us, myself, my husband, the photographer – how we escaped unharmed, I thank God for protecting us,” she said. “This alone makes me feel optimistic and to keep the joy of the occasion that I came here to celebrate.”

Terrible tragedy: The explosion, which reportedly originated at a warehouse in a port in Beirut, has a current death toll of more than 130 and the number of injuries at 5,000.

  • According to Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab, the blast was caused by 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate that have been kept unsecured in a warehouse for about six years.
  • In 2013, the Russian cargo ship Rhosus allegedly brought the ammonium nitrate cargo to Lebanon, reports the New York Times.
  • Destined for Mozambique, the ship was abandoned by the Russian businessman who had leased it due to reported legal disputes, and the ammonium nitrate was transferred to the dock warehouse.
  • The incident sparked anger among the Lebanese people who condemned authorities for their apparent neglect.

Feature Image via Reuters

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