A South Florida family returned home Friday, a day after they witnessed a van driving into a crowd of people in Barcelona.
The Ritkes family, who are from 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 speaking to Spanish police officers when they heard a large commotion.
"Then you just heard screaming, it must have been bodies, we don’t know. It was terrible noises," his wife, Sonia Ritkes, said after the family arrived at Miami International Airport. "We ran for our lives."
The Ritkes family said they are still processing the horror from the attack.
"It was just a wave of people, a stampede. You know, it happened so quickly, and all of a sudden, you see hundreds and maybe thousands of people just running at you," Gary Ritkes said. "I was able to pretty much get a line of sight on everybody except Charlie. I knew he wasn’t with us and that’s when I started panicking."
Charlie Ritkes, 14, said he got stuck behind a crowd of people when everyone started running.
"I got stuck behind the stampede, away from my family, and it was just so brief and so fast," Charlie said.
Charlie said his father eventually found him.
The Ritkes' said that during the attack they fled to a nearby street and were pulled into a pastry shop by the store owner.
They said more than 40 other people were inside the store, all lying on the floor in complete silence.
"It went by at over 50 miles an hour," Beau Ritkes, 19, said. "So when I was running, I was thinking if that was a bomb or if that's a shooter, it would make sense that the next place they would put a second bomb is the other exit. So I was running thinking that potentially I was running into another bomb."
Gary Ritkes said his family still plans to travel internationally after witnessing the attack in Barcelona.
"You can't let something like this stop you from wanting to travel," he said. "We actually reflected when we were walking back after we were out, and we said, 'Well, it's unbelievable that this actually happened to us and we were in the middle of a terrorist attack. It really could never happen again.' So we're OK to travel."