Sohaib Athar, a 35-year-old IT consultant, unwittingly live-blogged the Osama bin Laden kill operation on Sunday. He didn’t know what was happening in his quiet suburb of Abbottabad, Pakistan, but his curiosity kept him in front of his computer screen, updating his Twitter account all night. It all started around 1 a.m. when he heard a low-flying helicopter. Journalists and others pounced on his feed, giving him 60,000 new followers within 24 hours.
Around 1:00 a.m. local time, Athar writes. “A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope its not the start of something nasty :-S.”
Minutes later, he tweets: again. “Two helicpoters, one down, could actually be the training accident scenario they’re saying it was >> http://bit.ly/ioGE6O.”
Around 2:00 a.m. local time, Athar posts this: “Since taliban (probably) don’t have helicpoters, and since they’re saying it was not “ours”, so must be a complicated situation #abbottabad.”
Minutes later, he writes, “The abbottabad helicopter/UFO was shot down near the Bilal Town area, and there’s report of a flash. People saying it could be a drone.” The rumours of a drone were false. The mapped out location is correct.
Then, Athar responds to fellow Tweeters who ask if it’s an accident. “@smedicapeople are saying it was not a technical fault and it was shot down. I heard it CIRCLE 3-4 times above, sounded purposeful.” He’s right about that too.
Around 7:00 a.m. local time, Athar retweets a message from @naqvi Munzir Naqvi. “I think the helicopter crash in Abbottabad, Pakistan and the President Obama breaking news address are connected.” Athar makes no judgment. “@kursed Another rumor: two copters that followed the crashed one were foreign Cobras – and got away,” he wrote after 7:00 a.m. They were actually four American Blackhawks, not Cobras.
Finally, at 7:45 Pakistan time, just as Obama is making his speech in Washington, Athar retweets a message from ISuckBigTime. “Osama Bin Laden killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan.: ISI has confirmed it.” He adds. “<< Uh oh, there goes the neighborhood :-/,” he writes.