ISTANBUL, Turkey (WTVQ) – Wednesday morning Kentucky native Seth Collins boarded a flight at a smaller Istanbul airport — just 12 hours after suicide bombers targeted the Istanbul Ataturk International Airport.
Turkish officials say at least 40 people died and more than 140 were injured in the attack.
Collins told ABC 36 he was originally scheduled to depart from Ataturk Airport the day after the attacks. That flight was rescheduled.
The Eastern Kentucky University graduate says he’s been travelling to different countries for the last 10 years. It was during the last five years that he frequented Istanbul, Turkey.
Collins says he recently worked at a University in China as an English teacher. Once classes were over, Collins said he went to Istanbul to visit friends.
After spending 10 days in the Turkish city, Collins says he was preparing to fly back to Lexington when he found out about the bombings.
Collins says Istanbul is normally a quiet and peaceful place and that he will not let this tragedy deter him from traveling out of the United States.
“If you let that control your life than you’ll be afraid to do anything,” said Collins. “On the other hand, since I started coming to Istanbul five years ago there’s been an uptick in the amount of this sort of terror activity. It’s going to give me pause when traveling to Istanbul.”
Collins is scheduled to be back in Kentucky on Friday.
He told ABC 36 he signed a new teaching contract and plans to return to China in August.