The raid that killed Osama Bin Laden yesterday was live-blogged on Twitter – by a man who had no idea what it was he was watching.
IT consultant Sohaib Athar tweeted that a helicopter was hovering over his home town of Abbottabad at about 1.00 am local time (4.00 pm ET), with others joining it later.
“Go away helicopter – before I take out my giant swatter :-/” he joked. [NOTE – UPDATE: this Twitter account links to Athar’s own website, which is now believed to be infected with malware]
But minutes later, he reported a large blast that caused his windows to shake, adding that a friend six kilometers away had heard it too. Everything went silent after that: “Seems like my giant swatter worked!” Athar said.
But another correspondent said he’d heard a burst of gunfire lasting four or five minutes.
In the first couple of hours after the blast, Pakistani news services reported that a helicopter had crashed nearby during a training exercise – leading Athar to apologise about his ‘fly-swatting’ tweets.
But after a flurry of other rumors about the type and origin of the aircraft, the news finally emerged that Bin Laden had died in a US raid.
While US officials said the raid lasted just 40 minutes, Athar said there were helicopters and a plane in the area for well over two hours.
Ironically, Athar had moved to the area from Lahore in the hope of a safer and more peaceful life. “Uh oh, there goes the neighborhood :-/” he tweeted.