Queensland man narrowly escapes Turkey airport terror

Blake Portch on his holiday, which was almost cut short by the terror attacks on Istanbul this week
Blake Portch on his holiday, which was almost cut short by the terror attacks on Istanbul this week Contributed

LUCK sure was on Blake Portch's side this week.

If his flight from Istanbul was just four hours earlier, the Yeppoon man could have been among the 42 dead and over 200 wounded in Ataturk Airport's terror attack.

Blake and his friend Luke Woolward are currently on a working holiday, but the 21-year-old's trip of a lifetime could have easily turned to tragedy.

Three men arrived by taxi at the airport's international terminal and launched their attack armed with rifles and suicide bomb vests.

Initial findings suggest all three attackers first opened fire then detonated themselves.

Blake had just left the airport when the horror began.

"Some sort of luck was on our side... that's for sure," he said.

"Our plane got delayed an hour after leaving's just weird to think how close I was... what if it got delayed another two hours?

"I wasn't really concerned or anything to be honest, I just had a million emails asking if I was alive and okay.

"(Turkey) is one of the most beautiful countries I've ever been to and terrorism wasn't even a thought when I was there. The people are amazing and I felt super safe."

INSET: Blake Portch in Egypt
INSET: Blake Portch in Egypt

Blake's mother Aleena Portch said she felt "blessed" to find out her son was okay after turning on the Today Show and learning of the attack.

Yesterday she said Blake had visited Turkey on her own recommendation.

"I am very relieved that they were on an earlier flight," Aleena said.

"I had spoken to Blake at Istanbul airport the night before so I reached for my phone only to find his message that they were safe.

"I hope it doesn't stop him and others from travelling. because we can't allow the terrorists to win.

"I wasn't concerned they were in Turkey as these terrorist attacks are happening everywhere. It could happen in the main street of London."

Many of the pair's friends also shared their relief that they were safe.

Among them was Gathe M Kiwan.

"I have a tonne of friends who live in Istanbul so I was going through every friend and making sure they were all okay," he said.

"They're safe, that's all that matters. I pray for the loved ones of the less fortunate that night."

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but Turkish officials have identified Islamic State as the most likely suspects.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan released a statement following the terrorist attack.

Blake is on a working holiday in Europe
Blake is on a working holiday in Europe

"The attack, which took place during the holy month of Ramadan, shows that terrorism strikes with no regard for faith and values," he said.

"If states, as all humanity, fail to join forces and wage a joint fight against terrorist organisations, all the possibilities that we dread in our minds will come true one by one."

Topics:  terror attack turkey

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