As the people of Beirut watched in horror as smoke and fire billowed out of a warehouse in the city’s port, one unsuspecting bride was posing for pictures in her unbelievably gorgeous wedding dress. The bride has since been identified as Dr. Israa Seblani and The New York Times has been able to talk with her since she went viral.
Moments after the warehouse fire broke out, the 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate it was housing exploded, cause homes to be destroyed miles away. So far, over 140 people have been declared dead and thousands are still missing or injured.
Beirut Bride in Viral Video During Explosion Speaks Out
Several people around the Beirut area who were filming the fire also happened to capture the deadly and horrifying explosion. One of those people was Dr. Seblani’s wedding photographer.
Watch as an unsuspecting Seblani, her husband, and the photographer react to the Beirut explosino.
The video begins with Dr. Seblani smiling with her hands on her hips as the camera moves in towards her. It’s as the camera pans to catch her bouquet resting on the train of her dress that the explosion occurs and they all take off running in shock.
“One thing came into my mind: Now you are going to die,” Dr. Seblani told The NYT.
Seblani has only been in Beirut for three weeks at the time of the explosion. She and her groom traveled back to their native country just to celebrate their nuptials. Seblani had been in Detriot, Michigan completing a residency in endocrinology.
“At the moment I was taking that picture, life was so normal,” she said, as she described the square near downtown Beirut, where they were taking pictures, was bustling with people dining and shopping. “And in just a matter of seconds, the sky turned from blue to pink and there was heavy smoke in the sky. It just took a second from hearing the explosion to being hit by it. The beautiful place that I was in, it turned into a ghost town.”
Seblani admitted that her initial belief was that her city was under attack as bloodied people began screaming and running for their lives. Just second before the explosion, the bride remembers her groom, Ahmad Sbeih, saying, “Did you hear that” after hearing the smaller explosion first.
“And the photographer told me, ‘It’s Lebanon, you know, it’s OK, nevermind.’ And after that, I heard an explosion like I’d never heard in my whole life.”
After picking themselves up, Seblani and Sbeih ran to a nearby restaurant for shelter. “We thought it was going to be our year, but that didn’t work out,” she told The New York Times after already postponing their wedding three years ago.
Thankfully Seblani and Sbeih were able to get themselves home after the explosion. But after postponing their initial wedding, which was supposed to take place in America in 2017, they struggled with the idea of having to cancel their nuptials again. And that’s when they decided that they didn’t need the big wedding they had planned, they just needed each other and a few loved ones by their side.
So Seblani and Sbeih held a ceremony and celebration at their home.
Now, Seblani is set to return to America but she doesn’t want to leave without her husband, again. Sbeih hasn’t been able to obtain a visa into the United States and after already being apart for three years, they don’t want to be apart any longer.
And as Seblani told The New York Times, between the economic crisis and lack of safety, “Lebanon is getting complicated, more and more,” and she fears for Sbeih’s safety. “We need to be together. We’ve been apart for three years, and that’s enough.”
Nonetheless, Seblani knows her family was one of the lucky ones. “All we can say is thank God for everything.”
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.