More thrills than skills – A half-life in journalism, part 95

Over the next few weeks, is to publish, each weekday, edited extracts from the memoirs of Scottish war correspondent, Paul Harris. ‘More thrills than skills: A half-life in journalism’, is being scheduled for publication next year.

WITHIN minutes of the explosion, Colombo seized up – as army trucks, police, ambulances and rescue services converged on the commercial area.

I abandoned my car, engaged a trishaw and then ran into a maelstrom of fire, debris and death.

In the area of the explosion in those minutes following it, visibility was reduced almost to zero.

Thick black smoke billowed everywhere and – through the thick, choking fog – flames roared from windows, the heat searing your skin.

On the edge of the commercial district, bedrooms in the ultra-modern Intercontinental Hotel on the second and third floors were well alight: the service wing at the back was totally shattered and ablaze.