I am a terrorism attack victim.
In august 2001 I had been on holiday just me and my mum I was 10. We were in spain for 2 weeks and had only been there 3 days. We were staying in the Cala font hotel and had flown with first choice. Our room looked over onto a small beach and looking over the pool about 4 floors up. The bomb we later found out had been placed in a stolen Renault car outside the hotel. The day before the bomb went off, I stood infront of the stolen car and waved up to my mum as she took a picture on the balcony. I had no idea the next day that the car would explode with 50kg of high explosives.
The morning started off as a normal day. We woke around 8am and had planned on taking our towels down to the pool area and reserving chairs around the pool for a relaxing day. My mum got up and pointed out that there were police across the road rushing up the hill with 2 elderly people. I got up to and watched wondering what was happening. We looked down to the pool area and both noticed that there was no one around. No staff or guests. We both felt an uneasy feeling. I had planned on staying in the room while she went down stairs but my mum felt something wasn’t right. We were still in pjayamas when we could hear shouting in the hallway and banging. I opened the door to a spainish man running banging on every door screaming. He grabbed my top shouting run run run. I looked at my mum panic in her face she grabbed my arm and we run out the room. Hundreds of guests were all trying to squeeze down the same stairs that were a marble spiral. My mum was gripping on to me so tight as we tried to run with the crowd. At this point we didn’t no what was happening, as we reach the bottom floor reception area hundreds of guest were crowded around. Police were everywhere shouting in different lanuages pushing the guests away from the windows. Me and my mum squeezed into a corner together. We were giggling nervously at what was actually happening. Then we heard the police finally shouting in English ” Bomb, bomb , bomb, away from windows!”.
As I was only 10 at the time my memory is in snippets, like watching a movie in my mind and trying piece the missing puzzle together. The next snippet I have is running, everyone running out the main doors. My mum gripping me so tight. Hundreds of people pushing screaming in a panic. Police sheltering the crowds. I Remember running outside. The hotel had been on a hill and the I remember officers directing people up the hill away from the beach. We got out the hotel and started to run up the hill.
My next snippet is being on the ground hitting the ground with force like id be pushed hard. Then I heard the explosion it came after the force, a huge bang. I got to my feet and run with my mum. My knees cut open, my hands stinging, my chin bleeding. I couldn’t hear anything my ears were ringing. I felt like everything was in slow motion. Looking around at people lying on the floor, panicked faces looking around for help, pained faces, crying faces. I don’t think at that time I truly understood what had happened. I was bleeding from being thrown onto the gravelled road and I still couldn’t hear. I remember everything sounded fussy to me and I clung to my mum. Id still been in my pyjamas so had my mum and we were covered in dirt.
My next video in my mind is hours later walking back down the hill towards the hotel with my mum and a police officer. One by one we were being taken back in to collect our belonging. As we walked down a film crew rushed infront of me videoing me walking down the hill, so somewhere in the world I was on tv ive googled and you tubed a few times to try find the footage but never have.
As we got to the hotel I remember looking at the car completely burnt out. I new at this point it had been a bomb and I was terrified. We got to the door and a policeman tried to stop me going in saying I had to stay outside with him while my mum went in, but there was no way my mum was leaving me and told him that to in her mama bear voice so I was aloud in. As we walked in I looked out to the pool and all the water was gone, the glass windows had all gone just an open space. Rubble, glass and metal cluttered the crack marble flooring. It had been 5 star hotel but now was a war zone. As we got to the stairs a picture that is engraved in my mind is the corner where we had hid and nervously giggled, the roof had caved in at the exact spot we stood. Glass was everywhere we had to walk slowly guided by the officer. As we reached our room I was asked to stay outside the door while a hotel worker and my mum went in to try find belongings. She wasn’t bothered about clothes as such more money, passports etc. I watched as my mum went in the room. The marble flooring had cracks and glass was everywhere. There wasn’t a window left in the hotel. I watched her face as she walked in, and I heard her gasp as she looked at my bed. I rushed in to see what she was looking at. A huge shard of glass had gone straight through my mattress and dug standing up into the marble flooring. I think now what if I hadn’t woke up, what if the man didn’t scream or what if my mum had gone downstairs to the pool without me, I was going to stay in bed. I would have died. I think about that a lot to be honest even 17 years later. The hotel worker was also emotional she tried her hardest to help us as quickly as possible reach our belonging.
I don’t remember much after this. I remember being taken to another hotel hours later and sitting on the streets for hours with the victims. I remember that night like is was yesterday. I screamed and cried at every noise, begged my mum to run at every sound. A book she had been reading fell off the bed in the night and I screamed so loud and sobbed I was that terrified it was happening again. I didn’t sleep at all that night nor did my mum. We were flown home the next morning. Before this I loved to fly. I now cant fly. Im terrified to. This flight was filled with people who had just been in a terror act. The slightest turbulence made everyone scream. This has my flying for me awful.
I was happy to be home. I was happy to be alive. The terrorist attacks that have happened since around the world have been awful. Killing thousands. I was lucky, no one was killed in the attack I was a victim of. We were the lucky ones.
ETA were responsible for the attack in 2001. No one was arrested for the attack.
My thoughts today are with all those who has lost someone they love due to terrorism.