Monty Agarwal had just sat down for his Sunday breakfast when the table in front of him shook under the impact of an ear-splitting sound.
It was around 9.30, he recalled. Rushing out, he saw a scared crowd running in all directions. Someone shouted out that a restaurant a few metres from Agarwal’s Park Mansion residence was shattered by a blast.
“I have never seen such a scene on Park Street. People were running as if they were being chased at gunpoint,” recalled Agarwal. “Smoke was billowing from McDonald’s and the road in front was strewn with glass shards. The cars parked in the vicinity were damaged.”
Shaika, a front-office executive at Sourav’s: The Food Pavilion, had just stepped into the 20G Park Street address when she heard the deafening explosion.
Stepping out, she encountered a horde of people running away from Park Street. They were warning others not to go anywhere near McDonald’s. “Just now, there’s been an explosion at the restaurant. More may follow,” one of them cried out.
Those who heard the blast and witnessed its impact were sure that a bomb had gone off in the restaurant, that opened doors on March 9.
“What else could have caused the restaurant shutters to fly off to the pavement on the far side or smash the glass panes of vehicles parked nearby'” said Rupinder Singh, who was at the Free School Street crossing at the time of the blast.
R.Z. Irani, the owner of a liquor shop near the blast site, said he and his friends were horrified, fearing that a terrorist strike had triggered the blast.
Police later said the most likely cause of the explosion was a pressure build-up inside the air-conditioning duct at McDonald’s.
Ardhendu Bhattashali had come to Flurys with his 18-year-old daughter Debdutta for breakfast. “We had just ordered our food when we heard the explosion. As we ran out, we saw huge shutters lying on the road and the blood-soaked body of a man,” Bhattashali recalled.
“My daughter was traumatised. I immediately took her out through the rear gate of the eatery and asked her to wait in the car,” he added.
Nawal Kala, whose Zen was badly damaged after one of the shutters of McDonald’s crashed into it, said: “I went there with my brother. We walked a few metres after parking the car when the blast rocked the area. We immediately started running towards Ripon Street.”