“You can’t describe how bad it was. People were screaming. I was with my children. I couldn’t tell whether they were all right, it was dark.”
It’s a choice no parent should ever have to face.
But on Sunday, as explosions erupted around Colombo, Sri Lanka, Matthew Linsey was forced to live out a nightmare – having to choose which of his two dying children to save.
Matthew and his two teenage children Daniel, 19, and Amelie, 15, were on a family holiday at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo when the suicide terror attack that claimed more than 300 lives unfolded.
And when the bomb hit their hotel as they were having breakfast together – injuring both children – Matthew had to make the devastating call of which child to carry downstairs to safety.
“We both went to where the lifts were and I couldn’t move them, they were both knocked out. My son looked worse than my daughter. I tried to revive him,” the grieving father told The Times of the bomb’s horrific aftermath.
He said he believed that Amelie had sustained less serious injuries than Daniel so he chose to carry his son downstairs, leaving his daughter with other survivors.
But, devastatingly, neither child survived.
The loving father had tried desperately to revive Daniel before taking him to a hospital, where an attempted heart massage failed to save his life.
He later found out that his daughter - who he had left at the top of the stairs - hadn't survived her injuries either.
“A lady said she’d take my daughter. I carried my son downstairs to an ambulance, we took him to the hospital."