WESTON, FLA. (WSVN) - - A South Florida family who were vacationing in Barcelona during the terror attack that left 13 dead and at least 80 wounded shared their story with 7News via Skype.
The Ritkes family remains in Barcelona safe and sound, but Thursday morning family members found themselves in the middle of an attack. Two brothers said they are lucky to be alive.
“There was a stampede of people coming. It sounded crazy. Chairs were flying everywhere. I had never seen anything like it,” said Justin Ritkes.
The trip was supposed to be a beautiful vacation to Europe for the family of six from Weston. They planned a trip to London then would go off to Prague before the grand finale in Barcelona.
However, the vacation ended with the family fearing for their lives.
“It’s just the scariest thing in the world to have to run for your life and having your family with you, worrying; having my parents fearing our own lives more than their own,” said Justin’s brother Beau.
As the family neared Las Ramblas, ready to enjoy a night out in Spain, the suspected terrorist rammed down person after person, killing or injuring anyone in his path.
Fearing for their lives, the family ran into a restaurant and soon realized they became separated in the chaos.
“My dad realized our little brother wasn’t there. Everyone else was in front of us, so he went back, and I went with him to find my little brother,” said Justin. “He was actually pushed into a pole, and he has a little bruise on his forehead.”
The family was finally reunited and took cover.
“My little siblings and my mom were all crying. I was like ‘Yo! Get in behind that bar.’ They went behind the bar. I thought it was the safest place,” Justin said.
They sat and waited, not sure of what to do as they hid in fear.
“Everyone was just hugging, and there were people who only speak Spanish, people like us that only spoke English. People that were Asian who only spoke Mandarin, but all together we were in that room united as one,” said Justin.
The Ritkes family eventually made their way out and saw the destruction, including those injured and those who didn’t make it out alive.
“Once we left the restaurant. I looked to my right, in the middle section of the street, and there were people on the floor covered but definitely dead bodies,” said Beau.
By chance, the Ritkes family was scheduled to fly home Friday.
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