Yesterday I had the worst scare in my life so far. It had nothing to do with aviation.
I was out enjoying the holiday with my wife and two sons in Platja D’Aro, Spain. We had just gotten our dinner and the time was around 22:00.
We were sitting at a table near the street when we started hearing sounds of sirens and we started seeing the first ambulances. Naturally we were curious and my sons were watching and thought it was really exciting to see ambulances with flashing blue lights up close.
The next thing that happened was that my wife got a phone-call from out neighbour from around a kilometre away. She shouted to my wife to take cover because something horrible was happening outside our apartment and people were fleeing for their lives.
At the same time as this happened we started seeing a massive wall of fleeing people running towards our table, there were sounds of braking glass followed by, what sounded like 3 rapid gunshots.
The entire restaurant jumped up and started to pour into the restaurant in front of us as motorcycles were thrown up on the sidewalk by people trying to get away from… whatever they were fleeing from.
I grabbed my eldest son and my wife took the younger and we ran towards whatever cover we could find. In my case that was inside of the restaurant, in a corner behind a turned over table as cover together with 10 other terrified guests.
People were crying and turning over more tables to create make-shift barricades to hide from gun-fire.
Remember that this occurred less than a month after the horrific terrorist attack in Nice were a lunatic killed 84 people on the beach and less than a year since similar attacks in Tunisia.
After around 10 minutes everything started to calm down and I started looking for my wife and youngest son.
We found them hiding in the staircase of the same restaurant.
Outside on the street it was full of broken glass and turned over tables together with scared and comfused people.
My wife had to get in contact with medical professionals to calm down and I had to try and explain this to my 2 sons.
So, what happened?
It turned out that this was all started by a group of German tourists doing “performance art”. They had jumped out of a truck and started shouting in German while running into stores and along the beach.
Apparently they were pretending to chase a famous person in “Paparazzi” style and they were carrying tripods and selfie-sticks. The problem is that they choose to do this at night and the only thing everyone else saw was unknown people jumping out out cars, running, shouting and carrying something that looks like guns. It didn’t help that some idiot apparently choose to trow some fire-crackers at the same time.
In the panic that followed several people was mildly injured, a lot of property damaged and severl panic attacks were treated by medical personnel.
We were relatively lucky since we didn’t get injured but my wife is not feeling well and I have a big problem trying to make sense of this for my children. My phone was stolen during the panic together with all my photos that I hadn’t backed up yet. So if you don’t see me update my Instagram feed for a while, thats why.
This serves as a good example of what happens when people do things without thinking and the potentially horrific effects that group behaviour could have if not properly managed.
Unfortunately it also shows the effect that the latest terrorist attacks have had on the general population and I am really scared of what political effects this will have in the long run in terms of protectionism, racism, opportunism (As we can already see in the US, UK, France, Sweden and many more countries).
Please be safe out there my friends and take care of your loved once.