(Eagle News) — If her bus did not stop in time, a Filipina, Pauline Bautista, recalls how she could have easily been one the victims of the truck that plowed into a crowd on a busy pedestrian street at the heart of Drottninggatan, Stockholm’s shopping district on Friday, April 7.
Bautista, a correspondent of Eagle Broadcasting Corporation’s Eagle News Service in Sweden, recalled the horrific incident as she returned on that busy pedestrian street recalling the truck attack that shocked Sweden and the world.
Three days after the incident, she, along with hundreds of others, walked the same path that the truck took, feeling again the horror of that Friday, when the bus she was riding in stopped just in the nick of time.
“Halo-halo ang emosyon na aking naramdaman ng tinahak ko ang daang iyon. Pinikit ko saglit ang aking mga mata at inisip ko ang nangyari noong Biyernes. (My emotions were in a tumble as I walked on that street. I closed my eyes for a second, and thought of what happened last Friday),” she said in her Eagle News report.
They were all in a daze then, almost in a state of shock that day.
She thought that Friday that her bus stopped because of the pedestrians walking on the street. But when she again looked a beer truck came rushing by plowing the pedestrians like crazy, not caring that there were children there, that there were old people there.
And the horror of it all struck her, when she stepped off the bus and saw what happened.
Two of the victims were on the street. One was cut in half, the other one gasping for breath as shocked people tried to help — all in vain, as the person later died.
Four innocent persons were killed — one just a little 11-year old girl. Fifiteen more were injured, some of them still in the hospital.
“Sadyang nakakakilabot ang pangyayari. (It was horrendous),” Pauline said.
That day was etched in her memory, as she recalls how that fateful Friday turned into a nightmare.
Pauline and hundreds of others — Swedes and tourists — flocked back to that busy street on Monday in respectful silence as they remembered the horrible incident, and the victims of a terror attack that respected no one.
The four dead were two Swedes — one of them an 11-year-old girl — a British man, and a Belgian woman.
The people on Monday fell silent as tears fell, sobs heard with silent outrage in their hearts at the terror attack.
They all had the same question.
How could this happen? How can someone do this?
When the people walked that same street on Friday, they and all of Sweden had a minute of silence.
That once busy street was full of people, carrying flowers, writing down messages on colorful sticky notes that they pinned to a wooden wall put up at the front of Ahlens department store which the killer truck struck after mowing down people.
Mourners left flowers, hundreds of them, maybe thousands, as they went to scene where the victims were found.
There were also candles, stuffed toys as people gathered, their heads bowed. People were crying, even the policemen standing guard were wiping tears in their eyes.
Many people also hugged the policemen, appreciating them for their quick response to the incident. A police van was also filled with flowers near the department store which the truck had rammed.
Everyone there was in mourning.
Pauline also returned to the pedestrian street where the bus they were riding in stopped just in the nick of time.
“Pumunta ako sa harap ng pedestrian, kung saan huminto ang bus na sinasakyan ko. Bumalik sa alaala ko ang mga mukha ng mga taong umiiyak at nagtatakbuhan. Naalala ko din ang dalawa sa apat na namatay sa harap. (I went in front of the pedestrian [street] where our bus had stopped. I recalled the faces of those who were crying, running. I also remembered the two victims in front of us),” she said.
Pauline recalled that very sad moment and her body felt cold
“Nakakalungkot at nilalamig ang buong katawan ko. Inisip ko, kung pano kung hindi huminto ang bus na iyon, siguro ay kasama ako sa mga posibleng namatay o nasa bingit na ng kamatayan hanggang ngayon (It was saddening, my body was turning cold. I was thinking if the bus did not stop, I could be among the dead or those fighting for their lives until now),” she recalled in her report to Eagle News.
Pauline is thankful, extremely grateful to God that she is still alive.
“Napakabuti ng Diyos at nagpapasalamat ako nangg marami dahil iniligtas Niya ako sa kapahamakang iyon,” she said.
(video and photos courtesy Pauline Bautista, Fritzie Joy Pijana and Celma Mariano, Eagle News correspondents in Sweden, video editing by Aimee V. Mendoza, Eagle News Service)