Katherine Davey: I was living primarily in Greece at the time, working a job where I didn't really make a lot of money, so I came to teach English in Turkey that summer. I had always wanted to go to Georgia, because it's supposed to be the birthplace of wine and it's supposed to be a pretty country, so I thought for enduring the big city all summer long I would reward myself with a little trip.
Beck: How did you two meet? At what point in the day did you realize something was wrong?
Katherine: We met in the boarding area. I was fiddling around on my phone and she kept looking at me. I had Wi-Fi [from my phone plan]. Aline came over and was like, "How are you getting the Wi-Fi to work?," because Atatürk Airport’s free Wi-Fi [wasn’t working]. I told her it was just my plan, and we chitchatted. Nothing serious.
Then, when we were getting ready to take off, one of my friends was texting me saying that there was a tank on one of the bridges. I was like, That's weird. Then they decided to cancel all the flights. All they told us was that there was a military situation, so Aline came up to me because they were announcing it in Turkish. She was making sure that I understood what was going on. Then we both kind of looked at each other, and I think you said it first. You were like, “Let's have a buddy system. If we have to go out, let's stay together.”
Aline: I think we spent two hours in the plane before going out.
Katherine: Finally, when they let us out of the plane, we thought that we were just going to exit the airport. We were going into the passport line to leave, and there were tanks on the tarmacs. Then we thought we heard gunfire, and everybody was shouting “Get down!” Aline was thinking of the Bataclan.
Aline: I was so traumatized. My first thought at the time was, We have to go away because we will be killed on the floor.
Katherine: In the passport line, it's like a weird labyrinth. You’re stuck in that line, so it was like fish in a barrel.
Aline: Between the little houses where you have the police who check your passports, there was a man in between each with weapons.
Katherine: I just remember being on the ground and thinking, Okay, this is it. They're going to start shooting everyone. And then my phone was dying. I was like, I can't even call my mom.
Aline: I had to leave immediately. I said to Katherine, “We go, we go, we go!” But Katherine said, “I cannot move,” and I said, "I don't care. We go!" Then I went and Katherine followed, and you left your bag.
Katherine: If we had to run, I didn't want that horrible orange duffel bag. We shoved money in our bras and [grabbed our] passports, and I think I took my credit card too. Then we ran to the bathroom. I still can't decide if that was a good idea or not.
Aline: We will never know, and I'm happy that we will never know.