Couple within 600 meters of blast site survive Beirut explosion


The husband and wife were now lying together in a local hospital room, recovering from the glass and debris that tore their apartment apart – and them.

Lina needed three hours of surgery. Imad, who Lina said was seriously injured and had to be transported 11 floors to the back of a door, needed six hours of surgery.

They are among the thousands of people in Beirut who were injured in the blast. Their apartment, which they bought just two years ago, is now almost destroyed.

It all started with what Lina said sounded like fireworks.

The first explosion

They say the fire at the port started small. They watched him grow up from their balcony on the 11th floor. Using satellite images, CNN calculated their apartment was about 640 meters – or 585 meters – from the center of the water-filled crater left by the explosion.

At some point, they both started streaming live video to their social media accounts.

“I told my husband there was something wrong,” Lina said on the phone from her hospital bed.

In his video, we hear him tell him to come home; she remembers feeling like something bad was going to happen. Lina says Imad did not answer her and says he looked like he was in shock at what was happening in front of them.

Then a fireball with sparks is seen in the video. This was the first explosion, which occurred at 6:07 p.m. local time.

A large cloud of smoke, sometimes filled with small explosions similar to fireworks, is also visible. These explosions and the size of the flames increase dramatically as Lina’s video progresses.

“All I remember is flying through the air”

Thirty-three seconds after the first explosion, the second massive explosion occurs. This explosion was at 6:08 p.m.

A screenshot from Lina's video showing the start of the second explosion, which leveled the harbor and caused extensive damage.

“All I remember is flying through the air,” Imad told CNN by phone from his hospital bed.

Both say they were knocked out. When Lina woke up, she saw that her husband – still unconscious – had been cut by glass all over his body and was bleeding profusely.

Lina Alameh in her hospital bed.

Lina says she was thrown through a glass door, which broke her elbow, a tendon and a back injury. This is in addition to the multiple cuts of the glass.

Imad has been cut so severely, and in many places the majority of his body is bandaged. He told CNN it was easier to take a video of his injuries than to list them: he had injuries from head to toe, with severe cuts to his ankles and knees, and a fractured right thigh.

Khalil carried 10 flights on a gate

When she arrived, Lina said the only thing she was thinking about was whether Imad was still alive.

She remembers when she was finally able to wake him up, he said to her, “I’m dying. ”

Lina tried to drag him to the door, but said she wasn’t strong enough. Despite her own injuries, she says she started to descend 10 flights of stairs.

Imad Khalil in his hospital bed.

She said she felt so weak that she thought she would pass out again. So she made this trip by moving in the back all the time.

In the street, she found a policeman who is a friend. He and others went up the stairs and were able to bring Imad down using a door as a stretcher.

Once on the ground, they were able to signal an ambulance.

Their building is in ruins

In a video taken by Lina’s sister on Wednesday, the view from their once shiny apartment has changed completely. The only thing left by the explosion is catastrophic destruction.

The remains of the Port of Beirut, seen from the balcony of the apartment.

Every window in their apartment has had blown glass. The kitchen and bedrooms are full of debris and the doors have been ripped off their hinges.

In their living room, debris litter the floor and a large stain of blood is visible on the floor in front of their sofa.

The explosion was so powerful that outside, the front of the building on the entire port side was torn from the building.


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