The Beirut blast 'created a wave that rushed towards us, like in the movies'

Screengrab of the Beirut blast aftermath
Screengrab of the Beirut blast aftermath © France 24

FRANCE 24 spoke to several witnesses who were filming the initial fire that broke out after the first blast at the Beirut port when large stocks of ammonium nitrate also exploded, sending a huge shock wave out for kilometres on all sides.


Imad Khalil was filming the fire at the Beirut port from his balcony when he was suddenly hit by the shock wave that followed the second, ammonium nitrate stock explosion. He fell on the ground and was injured by debris.

“After the first bang I didn't have time to think. All I remember is that the big explosion created a wave that rushed towards us, like in the movies”, Imad Khalil told FRANCE 24.

Over half a million of the city's residents live within a 2.5-kilometre (1.5-mile) radius of the explosion and several people managed to capture the moment of the explosion.

Muhsin al-Mukhtafi, a journalist, was out jogging went he stopped to film the fire. Like everybody else he was caught by surprise by the huge second blast.

"I tried to protect myself because the blast was terrible. I'll never forget that moment for as long as I live."

Watch the full report by clicking on the video player above.

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