Maltese In Turkey Recount Horror Stories From Last Night: 'The Explosions Were Crazy'
Planes circling 'practically at street level' and explosions too close for comfort
Two Maltese people who were in Turkey last night have talked to Lovin Malta about the horrific scenes they witnessed during the overnight attempt at a military coup.
Erika Borg, 28, was drinking wine on her balcony with a group of friends in Ankara, when the violence began. It was about 10.30pm.
"Suddenly we saw military planes flying right over us and circling. They were flying practically at street level."
"They kept on flying until we heard from the news that it is a military coup. At that point helicopters came and we started hearing shooting followed by the sound of explosions. I saw a ground explosion from my balcony. It was the second one. My house shook several times because of the low lying planes, or bombs."
"It became practically routine. You hear a helicopter, then you hear shooting. You hear a plane, then you hear an explosion."
"The explosions were crazy. The house shook a lot. I never thought I'd see an explosion in my life, or hear shootings so close," she said, adding, however, that she would stay in Turkey anyway.
Ms Borg has been in Turkey since May working for the EU delegation and said there was no forewarning of the coup.
At least 90 people were killed in the attempted coup by the military last night which has since been crushed, according to President Tayyip Erdogan.
"I saw a ground explosion from my balcony. It was the second one. My house shook several times because of the low lying planes, or bombs."
Nigel Zarb, 28, spent all night stuck in the Departures Area of Ataturk airport in Istanbul with his 23-year-old girlfriend Jenny Manduca. They had just flown into Istanbul to get a connecting flight to Indonesia for a three-week holiday, when the coup began.
"Nobody at the airport knew anything so we decided to go to one of the lounges and stay there since the flights were cancelled according to news sites. We have been here since 10pm last night," he told Lovin Malta.
"Things are finally getting back to normal but the night was intense. We heard a bit of shooting but the worst were the explosions. They came from behind us. Everyone hit the ground. We heard jets flying overhead. When you hear jets overhead and explosions shaking the place, you think you're going to get blown up."
"The first bomb came after the first jet passed over. There were about three or four in total. Two of them felt really bad and the others a bit more distant."
"When you hear jets overhead and explosions shaking the place, you think you're going to get blown up"
"A bunch of protesters did come in to the building at a point. Before the explosions there were two instances where everyone started screaming and running. Which was not fun."
"Turkish airlines were meant to have sorted us a flight at 11:30 turkey time but there were no customer care staff and phone lines were down. It was legitimately horrible."
Meanwhile, the Maltese government has urged citizens to avoid travelling to Turkey.
"Maltese nationals in Turkey should stay inside, exercise caution if in the vicinity of any military or security forces and inform their next of kin to let them know that they are safe. Press should be monitored for updates and indication of areas of conflict."
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has set up a crisis centre which can be contacted on Freephone 8007 2203 (for local calls) and +356 2124 2191 /+356 2204 2200.