TOURISTS in Cyprus were left terrified this morning when a fire at a nearby army post caused multiple explosions and shattered the windows of a hotel.
The incident occurred at a Turkish munitions depot on the northern half of the island on Thursday at 1.30am local time.
A series of explosions hit a Turkish army base in Cyprus this morning[/caption]
The blasts are thought to have been caused by an undetected fire[/caption]
The blast left windows and glass doors shattered at the nearby Acapulco Hotel[/caption]
Officials said there had been no fatalities but that 12 people, chiefly guests at the nearby Acapulco Hotel, had suffered minor injuries because of broken glass.
Most the hotel’s windows and sliding doors were shattered in the blast, with guests later being bussed to alternative accommodation.
Early reports said the explosions were triggered by a fire that had gone undetected at the base, which is situated next to the village of Catalkoy.
Foreign minister Kudret Ozersay said that electricity had been cut in the vicinity and homes in the area had been evacuated.
Witnesses said the largest explosions lasted for 30 minutes, but that smaller explosions continued until 5am.
Stephen Cross, 69, a security guard and former firefighter from Dartford, Kent, was staying at Acapulco Hotel with his wife Linda at the time of the blast.
“We heard a bang. We’ve never heard a bang like it.
“I was a London fireman and I’ve never heard anything like that before.
Witnesses said the explosions went on for over three hours[/caption]
Officials said twelve people suffered minor injuries[/caption]
Glaziers are reported to be at the hotel today to repair the damage[/caption]
“I thought it was thunder and looked out the window – next thing you know, there was another bang and the windows shook and knocked me back a bit.”
“I took another look and saw people running around outside like ants.
“People starting banging on our hotel door and shouting ‘Get out, get out’.”
Stephen’s room was at the back of the hotel, so he only saw the explosions when he and Linda ventured outside.
In photos and footage posted on social media, a number of powerful explosions can be heard following the initial blast, causing onlookers to scatter.
“As we made our way outside, there were bangs and explosions everywhere and they ushered us on to the beach.
“They took us into a downstairs beach toilet, which was effectively underground and safer than being in the hotel.
“But when we were outside the shrapnel was going everywhere – one of the pieces on the ground was about three foot long.
Hotel guests were bussed to alternative accommodation this morning[/caption]
“It would have taken your head of if it had hit you.
“As we ran outside there was rubble on the floor because the facade of the building was damaged.
“One of the main glass doors of the hotels was actually lifted off its runners by the explosions.”
The foreign ministry said investigators had already launched a probe to determine the exact cause of the accident.
It added that authorities would carefully examine the safety of military installations close to residential areas.
“The army base is only a few hundred yards away and the sky was alight.
“It was red and there was smoke and you could hear all these explosions.
“It looked like a volcano erupting. It sounded like the loudest thunderstorm you could ever imagine.
Stephen said he feared they were under attack, adding: “The state of the world today, we didn’t know what was happening.”
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He also praised the army and hotel workers who have been working on the clean-up operation today, adding that glaziers were already at the hotel fixing the windows.
“Everybody mucked in. Everybody helped everybody,” he said.
Officials said an investigation has been launched into the cause of the blast[/caption]
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