BARCELONA, Spain – A South Florida family is lucky to be alive after being just feet away when a van drove into a crowd Thursday, killing at least 13 people and injuring 80 more in Barcelona.
The Ritkes family of Weston were in a market off the city's popular Las Ramblas mall when the incident began.
Gary Ritkes said his family of six was outside when they heard a large commotion.
"Chaos broke out. We heard screaming and then a stampede," Ritkes told Local 10 News investigative reporter Jeff Weinsier. "A wave of people almost started stampeding us."
In the first moments of the hysteria, Ritkes and his wife Sonia lost their son Charlie, 14, in the crowds before finding him in a nearby store.
"It was the scariest thing I've ever experienced. People were falling on the floor. People were running over people," Ritkes said hours later.
The Ritkes' fled to a nearby street and were pulled into a pastry shop by the store owner. More than 40 other people were inside the store, all lying on the floor in complete silence.
In a picture sent to Local 10, the family can be seen hiding behind a table with fear on their faces.
Gary said minutes later, the entire street was filled with police and still chaotic. While on lockdown in the shop, the family of six could see bodies being carted off through the windows.
"Everyone was in panic mode, basically fearing for their lives," Ritkes told Weinsier.
Though shaken up, the Ritkes' said they were able to make it back to their apartment, passing body bags along the way, and are thankful to be alive.
The family, who arrived in Spain on Sunday, are heading home to South Florida from vacation Friday morning on a previously scheduled flight.
Officials said two people are under arrest in what is being investigated as a terrorist attack.