Dr. Israja Seblani and Ahmad Sbeih were on the streets of Beirut on Tuesday, posing for photos in a dramatic, white wedding dress. It was a day like any other in the urban village of Saifi, she said, with people outside and shopping and eating at restaurants.
Then suddenly there was a loud noise. Seconds later, a eardrum destroyer erupted behind her.
“We shot an outdoor photo shoot for (Seblani) and (Sbeih), and then we heard an explosion,” Nakib told CNN. “It was the first explosion. We thought it was far away. We kept shooting normally.”
But that soon changed.
“In just one second, the sky turned black and we heard the second explosion,” Nakib said.
When the explosion went off, a strong gust of wind created by the shock wave of the explosion spread across the square, the video showed.
“The area I was in – in a matter of seconds – went from a beautiful place to a ghost town filled with dust, broken glass and people screaming [and] bleeding, “Seblani told CNN.” It was like a nightmare scene. “
The shockwave pushed Nakib down the street, he said, nearly knocking him down. But his camera kept rolling, shockingly documenting the chaotic scene for a few seconds longer.
Seblani, Nakib and the rest of the wedding party were inside when the blast echoed through the streets of Beirut. Everyone is doing well at the wedding and no one is hospitalized.
“I thought of my wife and daughter first,” Nakib recalled as he ran. “I called her to let her know I was fine and not going out. And I went live on Facebook to let people know what had happened.”
The blast in the Lebanese capital destroyed entire city streets, displaced hundreds of thousands of residents and damaged buildings within six miles.
It is connected to a warehouse storing thousands of tons of unsecured and volatile chemical compound, although it is not yet clear what caused the ignition.