Live-Streamed Mass Shows Priest Fleeing As Beirut Blast Shakes Church
Footage of a mass that was being live-streamed at a church in Beirut shows a priest running for his life as the huge blast shook the building.
The explosion tore through the port in Beirut, Lebanon, yesterday, August 4, when a fire was sparked in what’s believed to have been a firecracker warehouse and detonated more than 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, the ingredient used in fertiliser bombs.
Various posts online show footage and images of the blast, and its effects were caught live on camera in a nearby church where a holy mass was being streamed live online.
Take a look at the scene below:
The video shows a Lebanese priest, who has not been identified, giving the mass to parishioners via webcam as the explosion shook the church and caused the lights to go out.
Seconds later, stained glass windows started to fall to the ground, prompting the priest to sprint out of the way of the debris. The camera shook and fell to the ground but continued to record the shouts of concerned church-goers.
It’s unclear if the priest or the parishioners were injured, but latest figures from The Guardian state 100 people were killed and a further 4,000 wounded in Beirut as a result of the explosion.
The explosion was the most powerful ever to rip through Beirut, destroying silos containing 85% of the country’s grain as well as a warehouse containing medical supplies.
Discussing the blast with Reuters, Beirut’s mayor, Jamal Itani, said:
It’s like a war zone. I’m speechless. This is a catastrophe for Beirut and Lebanon.
George Kettani, the head of Lebanon’s Red Cross, said the organisation was still sweeping the area for survivors. He added: ‘There could still be victims. I hope not.’
The Red Cross is coordinating with the Lebanese health ministry to set up morgues for those killed in the blast because hospitals have become so overwhelmed with victims.
Hospitals have since asked people with non-life-threatening injuries to stay at home because they were unable to cope with the influx in patients.
President Michel Aoun said 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures; a decision he described as ‘unacceptable’. An official source familiar with preliminary investigations, cited by Reuters, blamed the incident on negligence.
Our thoughts are with all of those affected by the horrific events.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.