BOSTON (CBS) — “I was just panicking,” said Nick LeBlanc as he walked through the terminal at Boston’s Logan Airport. The Waltham native was relieved to be heading home hours after he sent out a string of Tweets.
“Just drove through hundreds of people running and crying,” said one Tweet. Then, “…laying all over the ground.”
He is referring to the largest mass shooting in modern American history at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival.
Officials say a sole gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada opened fire on the festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel across the street. At least 59 people were killed and more than 500 were wounded.
LeBlanc and his family had left their hotel on the Vegas strip and were driving to the airport.
“As we got further down the road there was more people running and screaming and crying and people like laying down and other people huddled around them helping and people running back and forth in the street. It was just chaos,” he said.
Joe Richardson was separately making the same trip to the Vegas airport with his family.
“We were just assuming it was a hostage situation with all these cars,” he said.
It’s a cruel coincidence that Richardson fled one disaster, then narrowly missed the tragic scene in Las Vegas. His family left the Caribbean just before Hurricane Irma devastated their home island of Anguilla, and the resort where he worked. Then on the way to the Las Vegas Airport to fly to Boston for a job interview, they passed the mass shooting.
“In both incidents, we have to reflect on the fact that we were not present for the hurricane. We did not lose our lives. We are still breathing,” said his wife Jayme Richardson. “The same with Las Vegas. It’s hard to be overwhelmed when we have to be grateful for the fact that we weren’t there and we are safe.”
WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod reports
Adrianna Coonan got an extra-long hug from her mom at Logan Airport and then tried to explain the carnage she had just witnessed.
“Everything that is probably a horrible thing that you can think of,” Coonan said.
The 26-year-old from Auburn had gone to Vegas specifically for the country music festival and had just recorded a Jason Aldean song on her cell phone.
“We thought it was firecrackers,” Coonan said. “We ran and every time the shots fired we dove to the ground and then when it stopped we ran and ran. We ran over a mile to just get as far as we could.”