11/12/2016 13:50 SAST | Updated 11/12/2016 13:59 SAST

TV Producer Describes Turkey Bomb Horror Which Left 29 People Dead

Smoke rises from a car after a blast in Istanbul, Turkey, December 10, 2016.
Smoke rises from a car after a blast in Istanbul, Turkey, December 10, 2016.

A television producer previously based in South Africa has described how he was travelling in Istanbul when a car bomb detonated less than 100m in front of him, followed by a suicide bomb behind him.

The twin bombs went off on Saturday, reportedly killing at least 29 people and wounding about 160 others.

On Sunday Philip Owira, a producer for the Istanbul-based TV station TRT World, said the atmosphere in Istanbul was drastically different following the blasts.

"The roads are empty. Usually there is a lot of traffic, but not today."

He said he had been travelling on Saturday evening when the attacks happened.

"I was on a bus going home when two bombs went off near me. The first in front of us, the second was a suicide blast which took place behind us," he said.

Owira said there were many South Africans working in Istanbul.

On Saturday, Department of International Relations and Co-operation spokesperson Nelson Kgwete said there were no reports of any South Africans killed or wounded in the bomb blasts.

"We are not aware of any South Africans involved in the attack at the moment," he said.

French news agency Agence France-Presse quoted the state-run Anadolu news agency as saying Turkey declared a one-day period of mourning on Sunday after the twin blasts ripped through the heart of Istanbul.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also ordered flags to fly at half mast after the car bombing near a football stadium followed by a suicide bombing at a nearby park, Anadolu said.