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'I felt like I was going to die'
Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai |
August 25, 2003 16:01 IST
Last Updated: August 25, 2003 16:49 IST
The bomb blast at the crowded Gateway of India, Mumbai city's most popular tourist desination, has left the witnesses shell-shocked. "It was the loudest noise I have heard in my life. I escaped only by the grace of God," said a terrified Syed Ali, a tourist guide who said he was only a few meters away from the explosion.
He said some of the windowpanes of Hotel Taj Mahal, just across the road, came crashing down at the impact of the blast. "That created a huge noise, so people began running helter-skelter. I am yet to recover from the shock ," he said.
Ali said he and others rushed to the spot and started transporing the injured to St George Hospital, in Fort area nearby. Ali said most of the injured were part of a group of tourists from Gujarat. "I saw many of them being taken to hospital," he said.
Ali, a tourst guide for many years, said this was for the first time he was witness to a bomb blast. "Every day some 20,000 tourists visit the Gateway of India. Had the blast happened on a Sunday, the casualties would have been much higher as lots of people come here," Ali said.
S Chauhan, a tourist taxi driver said he was in his car when the blast occurred. "I was shocked. I could not move forward. People were running here and there," he recalled.
Chauhan has a more immediate worry. "My livelihood is to take tourists to the Gateway of India. I hope they come back to the spot soon," he said.
Chauhan, who too helped in ferrying the injured to hospital, bore visble signs of his heroism: shirt and trousers completely stained by blood.
Tanaji Pawar, an employee with the Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking who was at the blast site, said: "I escaped the blast by 40 seconds. I would have been a victim too if my car had reached the spot that much earlier. I thank God," a relieved Pawar said. "I felt like I was going to die. I wanted to jump into the sea."