The Story Behind the Iconic Photo of a Brussels Airport Attack Victim

Mar 24, 2016

Photo credit: Ketevan Kardava—Georgian Public Broadcaster/AP

By Olivier Laurent

Blood is running down the woman’s face as she looks around in fear. She’s lost a shoe and her shirt has been ripped to shreds in the blasts that left at least 11 people dead at Brussels’ Zaventem airport.

In just a few hours, her portrait has come to define the March 22 terrorist attacks. Shot by Ketevan Kardava, a special correspondent for the Georgian Public Broadcaster network, the photograph has been published and shared across the world including on the front page of the New York Times.

Kardava was on her way to Geneva to report on talks between Russia and her home country, Georgia, when the first of two suicide bombers detonated his explosive vest. “Doors and windows were flying,” Kardava tells TIME. “Everything was dust and smoke. Around me there were dozens of people without legs, lying in blood.” Her first instinct was to look down at her own legs. “I couldn’t believe I still had my legs. I was in a state of shock.”

Less than a minute later, the second explosion sent everyone running for their lives. “I wanted to run to a safe place too,” she says. “But I also wanted to take pictures. As a journalist, it was my duty to take these photos and show the world what was going on. I knew I was the only one at this spot.”

Source: Time

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