Hand grenade, gun fire and high heels

Posted on August 19, 2015


My job is all about timing. Today was no exception. I left the flat dressed for a presenting shift. Heels, smart clothes, totally inappropriate for what was to unfold.

 (Me this evening at 10pm when I got home) 
As my taxi hit the seafront outside the Dolmabahce Palace at around 1430 local time, gridlock. Sirens, armed police on motorcycles and chaos.

Ten minutes earlier two gunmen attacked police outside the guard post of the palace throwing a grenade and opening fire. Fifteen to twenty shots were let off in quick succession according to a palace source I spoke to. Inside staff and tourists were trapped unable to move and left without any answers in a state of panic, crying.

My day was spun on its head. Unaware of what had happened, I grabbed my phone and called work to alert them something was kicking off and I was in the thick of it. My taxi was forced to take a detour and by the time I was told to stay put I was far away from the scene. I jumped out of the air-conditioned cab and into the prickly afternoon heat. Pegging it down the hill in 3-inch heels, sweat building fast and trickling down my back, all the time muttering I wish I was in trainers. 

Deployed to the scene were a field producer, translator and camera man. I didn’t make it in time to do the first live hit for the first bulletin so my field producer was shoved infront of the camera.

After we rendez-vous-d we started newsgathering. I interviewed a palace source who was terrified of saying too much. Getting anything out of people is bad enough in English, try through an interpreter. We grabbed people coming out still a little shell shocked and dazed to gauage what happened inside as well as out. We found a shady spot to cut down the interviews and I started bashing out a script for a report.

Everything we broadcast has to be approved so scripts have to be emailed over for subbing, we waited. In the meantime I had to prepare for several evening lives, reading the latest info coming from work on news lines.

Tonight I was supposed to be going on a date. A guy I met on Saturday night asked me out for dinner and he booked one of the city’s exclusive restaurants. One of my girlfriends messaged me when I got home to see how it went.

I replied, “It didn’t happen, I cancelled it. I was caught up in a bomb attack en route into work.”

Her response was, “Most people cancel dates because they are tired or just washing their hair not dodging bullets. F*** me, you said it as if it was completely normal.”.


Posted in: Istanbul 2015