Belfast Telegraph

Filipino family's miracle escape from Belfast bomb blast

By Jack Brennan

A Filipino mother whose family narrowly escaped injury in a bomb attack has said she feared for her children's lives.

And her husband has defiantly vowed not to leave Northern Ireland, despite being caught up in a dissident explosion intended for a police Land Rover patrol.

Michelle Santos, who is originally from Manila in the Philippines, her husband Marvi and three of their five children were driving home along the Falls Road when a bomb exploded a matter of feet away from their car.

The family escaped without suffering serious injury but they did suffer some hearing damage due to the loud bang.

"It damaged my car and I mentally blacked out because it was a really, really strong blast," Mr Santos told Sunday Life.

"For five seconds I couldn't see anything, there was also a bit of damage to my hearing. I pulled the car over on the left-hand side, the kids were complaining about pain in their ears.

"After I came out of shock I noticed that my car was full of holes. My windscreen was broken as well, there was a big crack in it."

Mrs Santos said she was relieved that her family were unharmed in the attack.

"I'm just thankful nothing major happened to them, our car can be replaced but not our lives," she said. "The most important thing is that no one else was hurt. I was thinking that in the space of a second the four of them could be gone. It's just so sad."

Despite their traumatic experience the family say they are determined to stay in Northern Ireland.

"We love Belfast. Whatever happens, I would rather stay here," Mr Santos said.

PSNI Superintendent Barbara Gray said: "This was not only a deliberate attempt to kill police officers, but was an attack on the community of west Belfast."

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