The front side of Özdemir's bus was affected by the blast. DHA photo
A public bus narrowly escaped becoming caught in a deadly explosion that ripped through the eastern province of Gaziantep yesterday.
Nine people were killed and 66 were injured when assailants detonated a powerful explosive device in Gaziantep. A public bus, a minibus and a passenger vehicle were incinerated in the explosion that happened near a bus station.
It was revealed today that a second public bus unknowingly escaped the carnage when a passenger asked the driver to drop him off 50 meters before the designated bus stop mere moments before the explosion.
"We may have been saved thanks to that passenger," bus driver Hüseyin Özdemir said today, according to Lokman Happani of daily Habertürk.
After surviving the blast that happened meters ahead of him, Özdemir went on to evacuate passengers from the bus that was hit by the explosion. "The explosion happened when I was letting off a passenger. A bus that was coming from the opposite direction was left in flames, together with a civilian car," Özdemir said.
Özdemir maneuvered his bus – windshield shattered by the blast and hull riddled with nails from the bomb – away from the flames and stopped to pick up the wounded from the burning vehicle.
"My bus was hit bad, especially the front side," Özdemir said. "I picked up the wounded who were flung out of the other vehicle and took them on my bus and sped all the way to Şehit Kamil State hospital, which was three kilometers away from blast zone.
“I had taken an injured 4-year-old kid to the hospital, but then I learned the child died later. I managed to take some 30 injured people, despite being wounded myself," Özdemir said.