Vancouver (PressASAP) — In August 4 the world was shocked to learn about a massive explosion in Beirut. Over 170 people died, thousands injured and the city in ruins. Footage of the explosion flooded social media, showing the explosion in different perspectives. I spliced some of the footage to understand better the sequence of events leading to the explosion… it’s horrific.
One footage that was hardest to look was taken from a sheet on what seem to be in close proximity to the blast. At the moment of explosion, one can see the shockwave blew up the buildings like cardboard boxes. The videographer seem to duck for cover. As the camera flung in the air. One can see a few frames of him, then the camera lands pointing skywards. Then it was all still.
#Twitterverse ( @bluebay700 )
…attempting to ID this photographer. Some claimed he was livestreaming, w/o citing source, & assumed he p… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
People who saw the footage assumed he perished, pointing out the close proximity to the blast as he was, allegedly, live streaming the fire. I for one didn't want to believe it, and hoped he made it.
Lebanon ( @HadiiByad )
@majdkhalaf1993 I just wanted everyone to know that the guy who filmed this is not dead his name is “youssef kawtha… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
For some reason I felt this urgency to identify who he is and his condition. The footage shared my multiple people didn't include any form of attribution. After going through hundreds of comments on social media, I came across someone who mentioned his name, Youssef Kawtharani.
After searching multiple social media platforms, I came across his Instagram. He indeed survived the explosion. On his profile, he shared the footage he took along with a selfie, showing him covered in dust and blood from his injuries.
#Twitterverse ( @bluebay700 )
…#fact: he indeed made it… he’s fine. 👍 great discovery to wake up to.
Sixteen days after the tragedy, he shared his experience of the tragedy in the following video.
AUGUST 4 BEIRUT
I dropped my phone when the explosion hit me. I’m Youssef Kawtharani. I want to tell you my story.
At this time, my brother and I were parking the car in front of his restaurant in Gemayze. When we got out of the car, we saw smoke coming from Beirut port. That’s when the first explosion happened.
People started running towards the port to see what was happening. Something was wrong. This is when I started filming (approximately 500 meters from the Beirut port).
The second explosion occurred approximately 30 seconds after I started filming. It was very big and very powerful.
The second explosion was so powerful, it threw me through the air. I thought I was dying. I don’t know what happened.
I knocked into something, or something hit me, I’m unsure. I flew 10 meters and fell on the ground. I crawled under a car to protect myself from glass and bricks raining down.
When the situation had calmed down, I got out from under the car and looked around. It was a terrifying sight.
A lot of people laid on the ground, cars had been crushed and buildings had collapsed. Everything was destroyed in the area.
The first thing I thought of was my brother. I ran to his restaurant to check on him. Thanks to God, he was okay. I saw he had minor injuries, and that’s when I noticed, I had injuries too.
Then we heard people calling for help from the outside. Since I’m a former volunteer for the Lebanese Red Cross, we went immediately to assist people.
We stayed until night in Beirut, and we were to help a lot of people.
I want to appeal to all people to support the Lebanese Red Cross. They really need your support because Lebanon has been through a very difficult time.
Everyone wishing to donate can use the link below this video.
Please like and share my video.
Thank you! — Youssef Kawtharani
View this post on Instagram
I was lucky to survive the explosion in Beirut. My video got thousands of shares, and many assumed I had died in the blast, but thanks to God I survived. I want to tell you what happened on August 4th 2020. Please like and share my video. Edited by @lineesoe #beirutblast #beirut #lebanon #lebanonexplosion #beirutport #gemmayze #donate #redcross @lebaneseredcross @beirutcityguide @lebanontimes @livelovebeirut @beiruting @impact.lebanon @uniceflebanon @mtvlebanon.news @aljadeed @beiruth._ @beirutexplosionemotions @beirutpage @impact.lebanon @insta_lebanon @blast @cnn @euronews.tv @etbilarabi @beirut
Kawtharani and his brother are very lucky to have walked away from the tragedy with minor injuries, which is of great relief. He mentioned, through direct message, that they live very far from the area, but their restaurant and their car are all damaged.
As of this writing, many countries, including Canada, has pledged support for Beirut, Lebanon. But assistance also demands changes to its political structure, whose long-standing issues is being blamed for the ammonium nitrate storage lapses at the port that lead to the explosion. Many political figures has resigned, and the people of Beirut took to the streets to demand accountability and change.