Imad Khalil and Lina Alameh both reportedly needed hours of surgery after the Tuesday blast ripped through their apartment

By Ally Mauch
August 07, 2020 12:53 PM
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Aftermath from the explosion
Daniel Carde/Getty

A married couple in Beirut are grateful to be alive after they witnessed the city get rocked by a fatal explosion from just 640 yards away, according to CNN.

Imad Khalil and Lina Alameh were both injured in the blast near Beirut's port on Tuesday, which killed at least 135 people and injured another 5,000, The New York Times reported.

Both Khalil and Alameh reportedly sustained extensive wounds from the glass and debris that ripped through their home around 6 p.m. local time.

Alahmeh spent three hours in surgery, while Khalil needed six, they told CNN.

Now recovering side-by-side in a local hospital room, the pair reflected on their experience surviving the massive explosion.

They first noticed a small fire at the nearby port, and watched it grow from the balcony of their 11th floor apartment, which is now destroyed, the outlet reported.

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"I told my husband there's something wrong," Alameh said, sharing that both she and Khalil had begun livestreaming the scene from their social media accounts. She told him to come in from the balcony.

Then, the first blast hit. "All I remember is flying up in the air," Khalil said.

They were both knocked unconscious and when Alameh — who said she was thrown through a glass door — woke, she saw that her husband had been cut by glass and was bleeding. When she was able to wake him, she recalled that he told her, "I'm dying."

The explosion near the city's waterfront was so powerful it was felt more than 150 miles away in Cyprus, The New York Times reported, adding that the neighborhood in which it occurred was “essentially flattened.”

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The fatal blast may have begun with a fire that then spread to fireworks that then ignited ammonium nitrate being stored in the port, the Associated Press reported, citing both experts and footage from the blast.

Lebanese Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi told a local TV station that he believed more than 2,700 tons of the chemical compound — commonly used as an agricultural fertilizer — were detonated in the blast, according to the AP.

The ammonium nitrate had reportedly been stored in a warehouse at the dock since 2014, when it was confiscated from a cargo ship.

As officials continue to investigate and provide the city with aid, people are being encouraged to help by donating to several relief organizations, including The Lebanese Red CrossUNICEF and Save the Children.