Hani Abughazaleh and friends had been fishing off the coast of Beirut, Lebanon.
“We heard a couple of small explosions and saw white smoke rising above,” he told CNN.
CNN’s producer in Beirut Ghazi Balkiz said the initial explosion happened at 6:07 p.m. local time.
Abughazaleh began taking a video at 6:08 p.m. local time and seven seconds later, the massive red explosion cloud appears. The sudden and intense explosion is so powerful a massive, visible shockwave forms in the sky.
Watch the moment:
He said when the shockwave hit the group, it almost knocked them off the boat.
“We saw a red plume rising and people panicked wondering if it’s some sort of lethal gas,” he said.
“Oh my God,” someone in the video exclaims.
Two more videos taken by Abughazaleh shows the red cloud billowing above Beirut.
As the boat began to make its way back to the shore along the coast, the red cloud appears to have dispersed and a red haze appears in the air.
“I drove home to asses the damage in my house and saw hundreds of injured people,” he said.
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