For several hours much of Pakistan's biggest city, Karachi, had been the scene of a giant party, with hundreds of thousands of supporters of Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party celebrating her return home after years of self-imposed exile.
A survivor helps one of the wounded
All that swiftly changed when two bombs targeting the truck carrying Ms Bhutto exploded as darkness had taken over the city on Thursday evening, leaving at least 130 people dead.
The BBC Asian Network's Rahila Bano was yards away from the blasts.
"People were running towards the road side, there were tens of thousands of people on the road, five lanes of traffic.
"I saw a small vehicle on fire in front of me, and in Benazir Bhutto's vehicle there were a lot of people bleeding... limbs around, we were told some policeman had been hurt."
Bilal Ahmed lives close to where the explosions happened. He told the BBC's Five Live what he saw.
"It was terrible, there were two blasts. The first one was a smaller one and the second one was a huge one and it shook the whole house actually, windows shattered.
"I was so worried. There was panic all around. People found it difficult to bring those ambulances because there was no room."
Broken glass, shredded car tyres and spattered blood littered the ground.
The injured were ferried to hospitals by whatever means possible - some were simply carried in for treatment.
Shaukat Ali Khan was not far away when the first blast went off.
"There was a lot of smoke and after two and a half minutes, another blast occurred and there was screaming, crying.
"There were speakers in some of the vehicles and those were announcing: 'OK, peace, there will be no problem, OK, calm down.' The crowd was just rushing," he said.
A wounded boy is treated in hospital
A photographer for Reuters news agency, Athar Hussain, saw "a ball of fire" burst into the air. He rushed towards the site of the first blast.
"There was another blast and it was more powerful, then I knew it was a bomb attack," Mr Hussain said. He described seeing a television cameraman ahead of him being killed.
"Bodies were scattered all over and wounded were crying for help. No-one went near the bodies out of fear that there could be another blast."
Sherry Rehman of Ms Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party was in the bus carrying Ms Bhutto when the attack occurred.
"We all fell to the right, the blast came from the left. Before we could scramble up, one of my colleagues' jackets was burning... singed hair and the flesh and blood all round.
"There was a second blast then, which was a little stronger, and that pinned us down to the floor of the truck. It took us about half an hour or more to evacuate because the truck was very high. Some people jumped in panic."
Crowds stormed the arrival lounge as Ms Bhutto landed in Karachi
Victoria Schofield, a friend of Ms Bhutto who was with her on the bus, said the former prime minister had been standing on top of the bus for six hours, but had just gone downstairs to work on a speech when the first explosion went off.
"We were sitting up on the top and suddenly there was this absolute flash of light and a blast," she said.
"I felt lots of really hot air coming and we all - there were about 15 of us on the top of the bus - we all literally went to the ground."
Top Pakistan People's Party officials were out on the streets, the area was lined with Mercedes and four-wheel drives, as the party elite sweated it out in the 30C heat.
Farzana Raja, a PPP spokeswoman was among them.
"There was one blast we saw, there was one blast we thought - and we started running towards our chairperson, Benazir Bhutto, and within a second or two there was another blast.
"There was blood all around and it was chaos - and we couldn't understand what was happening - we didn't know where to go, what to do," she said.