Dinesh Mallam, an Indian-American who narrowly escaped after he nearly drove into the plane that smashed into the U.S. federal building in Austin, thanks his stars for being alive and kicking.
Mr. Mallam, originally from Hyderabad, miraculously walked away uninjured after he nearly drove into the plane, as it zoomed past him on the road.
Sitting in his apartment, Mr. Mallam still can’t believe he made it out alive.
“I’m so lucky I escaped without even a scratch,” Mr. Mallam said.
Mr. Mallam was in his car and driving to work as he saw what he describes as a white flash. He realised that it was the airplane. Then he heard a loud boom.
He said the windows of his car blasted out, and debris flew into the body of the vehicle. Miraculously, he walked away uninjured.
“The wing blocked my view, it was coming, it was so low, so close,” Mr. Mallam said.
“The blast happened on top of my car, that’s why my moon roof was blown off, and all the shrapnel and all the debris fell on my car. My car felt very heavy, it felt dislocated for a while,” he said.
“In a split second, it hit the ground floor of the building on the right side. The impact was so huge that my car was treading and totally out of control,” Mr. Mallam said.
“I was trying to control my car. My windshield was broken and all the debris piling on my car. I could hear all the noises from the explosion. I blacked out for like two seconds.”
He said he regained composure and got control of the car. As soon as he could, he brought it to a stop, but Mr. Mallam said he couldn’t see from the thick black smoke surrounding him. He also said he almost wished he couldn’t hear.
“It was like an IMAX theatre or something. All my windows were rolled up, but I could still hear that sound so loud,” he said.
Those were all sights and sounds he hopes will soon go away.
The FBI agents on the scene questioned him about the accident.
“I told the FBI agent, the lady, at first, and she was like, really?” Mr. Mallam recalled.
Mr. Mallam was one of the first to know what exactly caused the blast. He said that even his insurance company did not believe what happened at first. However, they decide to put him in a rental car after learning what happened. He says it will take a few days to return behind the wheel.
Federal officials are keeping his car while the investigation continues. Mr. Mallam is not sure when he will get it back, but believes it is still drivable.