'We heard this explosion ... and saw bodies lying on the ground'

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The Independent Online

Britons caught up in the explosions in the resort town of Marmaris described yesterday how their holiday on Turkey's Turquoise Coast had turned into a nightmare.

The Mediterranean coast of Turkey has become a popular package holiday destination from the United Kingdom. However it has also been subjected to frequent attacks by Kurdish separatist groups intent upon destroying the trade.

Rob Laughton, 41, from Chiswick, west London, who was on holiday in the town was having dinner at a nearby restaurant, the Rovers Return, with his wife and friends when he heard the explosion on the mini-bus.

"We were just sat there and heard this almighty explosion ... we saw the bus and bodies lying on the ground. We thought, we just don't want to be here. We just ran away," he said.

Mr Laughton, who works for a catering firm, and his wife Susan, 46, had been at the resort for two-and-a-half weeks. The couple were staying just 10 minutes from the centre of Marmaris where they witnessed the aftermath of the explosion. Mr Laughton said he and his wife and friends had been only about 20 metres away. "It was a 30-second walk from that restaurant. I just thought it was a crash but my wife said, 'That's more than a crash'."

Mr Laughton said he believed all the casualties had been passengers on the bus, a dolmus mini-bus, a popular form of travel in Turkey used regularly by tourists and locals.

Suzanne Bedford, who was among the injured, said: "Who did this? What do they want from these people?" Her two grandchildren were also being treated at the Ahu Hetman hospital in Marmaris.

Melanie Boyd, from Northern Ireland, was in a taxi going to the town centre when she heard the explosions. She told the BBC that there were confusing scenes when she arrived in an area where one explosion had apparently gone off.

She said there was "a lot of panic", adding: "there's lots of police, lots of ambulance, fire brigade - a lot of panic.''

George Kirby, 18, from London, who has been living in Marmaris for two years, was walking to a friend's house when the two bombs in the rubbish bins exploded. He said the area was used frequently by tourists to get to the resort nightclubs.

"I saw a Turkish man put some rubbish in the bins and it blew up in his face. I was completely speechless and just ran across to the other side of the road, but as I did another bomb blew up in another bin. Within 10 minutes all the roads were blocked off and the police didn't allow cars or buses into the area," he said.

Michael Grant, 39, who has lived in Marmaris for two-and-a-half years, said he heard the explosions from the roof terrace of his home. "They were very loud, extremely loud, and then there were police and gendarmes and ambulances going to the scene. We could see people running from from the area and police and ambulance crews."

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