“It was the biggest blast I ever would imagine — lights flashing, glass shattering,” Helena Ayeh told The New York Times about the abrupt surprise she experienced Saturday evening in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. “It happened so fast I was thrown up and landed down. I didn’t know where it had come from.” Ayeh has lived on 23rd Street, on the block where the bomb blast went off, for 11 years. She explained that she was just walking through her apartment building’s outside gate, carrying a few bottles of wine in a bag, when the explosion unexpectedly occurred. A total of 29 people were injured in the blast. All of them were treated and released from the hospital. Another pressure cooker bomb that did not detonate was found four blocks away. “I realized there was blood streaming down my face, and I couldn’t see out of my eye,” Ms. Ayeh said. “I said, ‘Help! Help!’ when I saw the blood.” Medics scooped her up and rushed her to the hospital in an ambulance after that. She was so disoriented from the explosion that she was unable to estimate how far she’d been thrown. She just heard the wail of sirens and the shrieks of fear from others wounded and near the blast.
Around 4 a.m. on Sunday morning, Ayeh was released from Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan and that’s when she recounted her harrowing tale to the Times. By Monday morning, authorities had launched an area-wide manhunt for 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami after they connected the Manhattan bombing with a similar bombing earlier on Saturday that targeted a Marine Corps 5K race in southern New Jersey, and found five more bombs in Elizabeth, New Jersey, near where Rahami lives. After a shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey, less than five miles from Elizabeth, Rahami was apprehended late Monday morning. He was also seen on surveillance video near the dumpster that police say the bomb in Manhattan was placed in before it detonated and wounded Ayeh. “I consider myself very, very lucky I’m not blind,” Ayeh reflected on the frightening incident. “I’m very blessed, I think.”
Read the full story at The New York Times.