Thursday marked 30 years since the explosion of a NASA spacecraft shocked the world.
On Jan. 28, 1986, the Challenger Space Shuttle took off from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. Just 73 seconds later, smoke filled the air as it was blown into pieces.
Colin Cote was 10 years old when he witnessed the tragedy first-hand. His parents were by his side.
“Watching that launch was still one of the most elated moments of my life, and followed by one of the most disappointed that I can remember was watching it explode,” Cote explained on News Talk Radio’s MainStreet.
The disaster killed all seven astronauts on board: Francis “Dick” Scobee, Michael Smith, Christa McAuliffe, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka and Gregory Jarvis.
“I had realized this had exploded and these people have died and looking around and people were just crying was basically the big reaction.
“I remember every kid I looked at, ’cause we were all crying, and every kid I just thought, like, oh my god did you just watch your parents die,” said Cote.
Cote said he was bothered for two weeks after the explosion.
As the 30th anniversary approached, Cote spent an hour on the phone with his parents Wednesday talking about that moment.
“(The disaster) kind of made me appreciate (my parents). You never really entertain the notion of not having your parents and that was the first time in my life I ever did.”