Lucas Dolega succumbs to a hand grenade
Lucas Dolega © Corentin Fohlen
European pressphoto agency (EPA) photographer Lucas Dolega was hit by a teargas grenade on the afternoon of Friday, January 14, where, alongside four other photographers, he was covering the turmoil in the streets of Tunis. “It was 1:30pm when tension soared on Bourguiba avenue” commented one of his peers, on location at the time.
“There were five of us working together. We followed a group of demonstrators who were hiding in one of the adjacent streets near the main artery of Tunis. Tension was high. At one point, I was alone in the middle of the street, my cameras visible, a police officer threw a teargas bomb only 10 yards from me, my back turned. The grenade skimmed my hair above the ear. We took shelter on a side street. I was in the middle of the street facing the police. They could easily have identified us. The majority of the demonstrators had fled. Lucas and the others were hiding behind a street corner.”
“At one point, Lucas looked around the corner and that is when the grenade hit him right in the left eye and on the forehead. He fell on the sidewalk and began bleeding profusely. We stretched him out, he was losing a lot of blood by the mouth, and tried to bandage his head. The other photographers went looking for a car to transport him. We were lucky, there was no traffic, and a team from Euronews driving by stopped to bring us to the closest clinic. It all happened in only 30 minutes, but it felt like hours. In the car, he was bleeding tremendously.”
“At the clinic, the doctors bandaged the wound and put him under respiratory assistance. Then they asked us to take him to Rabta Hospital where they would be able to take a head scan. It was very blurry, so the surgeons decided to operate immediately. They announced that his eye was badly damaged, but it appeared his brain hadn’t suffered. Unfortunately, the next morning, complications arose from the toxic mixture contained in the bomb.” Loucas Mebrouk Von Zabiensky, who signed his pictures Lucas Dolega was 32 and had been working for the EPA since 2006.