MISSOULA – It was an emotional scene at the Missoula International Airport Monday afternoon as passengers finished their journey home, still in shock less than 24 hours after the deadly shooting in Las Vegas.
Family members waited quietly for the 3 p.m. Allegiant flight to land. Some of them were already fighting back tears as they waited for the passengers, many of whom were at the Jason Aldean concert just hours earlier.
You could see the anxiety in the faces of those waiting and when their family members finally made it to the terminal, there were more tears and long hugs. It was emotional to watch these reunions as everyone realized they had survived the worst mass shooting in the US but were now home and safe.
Those MTN spoke with told us about the moment they realized they were under attack. One of them, Michelle Cole, is a trauma coordinator at Saint Patrick Hospital who got her son to safety and then went back with her husband to help the wounded.
“We knew we had to get him out,” Cole said. “There were a lot of people. We started running into casualties, so we knew. We made a little triage area and worked with the local people and got ambulances to the area, so we did triage on the patients.”
“Sounded like fireworks,” said Erin McMeekin, who attended the concert. “You know, I think everyone just kinda for a minute just looked at each other and we saw them ushering everyone off of the stage and people just started screaming and running and saying ‘they’re shooters, they’re shooters.'”
Michelle Cole hopes that there will be some sort of debriefing for all of those in Missoula who were there to work through the emotional trauma of the deadly attack.
MTN’s Jill Valley