Austinite recalls narrowly missing Barcelona attack: 'It's surreal how quickly things can change'

Ashli Taylor was staying at a hostel a block away from the attack in Barcelona. She and her friend were on the street 10 minutes before it happened.

AUSTIN - Ashli Taylor was barricaded inside of her hostel in Barcelona, Spain for the majority of the day Thursday.

Within only a few hours of landing in the European country, a tourist's nightmare happened.

Thirteen people were killed and over 100 others were injured after a van sped through a pedestrian walkway in the popular tourist district of La Rambla. Spanish authorities confirmed the incident was an act of terrorism, and the Islamic State has since claimed responsibility for the attack.

Taylor told KVUE she was walking in the district 10 minutes before the attack with a friend.

"There were a lot of families there. Obviously, there were a lot of tourists as well, definitely a very hustle and bustle area," she said.

Everything seemed quite normal in the area until they were almost back to their living quarters.

"It really wasn't until we got back to our hostel that we saw people running. We saw officers kind of moving through the streets towards La Rambla -- that direction -- that's kind of what tipped us off that something was happening," Taylor said.

When she returned to her hostel, there was no way she could return out into the streets.

"We had planned to go out around 5 p.m. Barcelona time and we were told we couldn't leave. There was an incident that is ongoing, and we've been battened down ever since," she said.

Her hostel eventually lifted the barricade five and a half hours later. She said its hard to believe that she was walking in the same area of the tragedy minutes beforehand.

"It's kind of surreal, to be honest. Because you know, like I said, we saw people running, officers responding, we couldn't see what was going on, and we were kind of scared to leave at that point...just seeing that it was at the intersection that we had literally just crossed, like 10 minutes prior, it's really surreal how quickly things can change," she said.

Spanish police said they have detained two people in connection with the attack, but the driver of the van is still at large.

According to El Pais, this is the first major terror attack on Spanish soil in 13 years.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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