Brussels, Belgium (CNN)Nidhi Chaphekar lay motionless, afraid to move, on the floor of the departures hall of Brussels' Zaventem Airport after it had been hit by twin blasts.
In the hours and days after the suicide bombings, the flight attendant's image -- picked up by international media outlets around the world -- would sum up the horror and tragedy of the attack.
Wednesday marks a year since the blasts shook Brussels airport followed by explosions at a metro station in the city; 32 people were killed and over 300 more were injured. ISIS would later claim responsibility for both.
Back in Brussels, one year on, Chaphekar is a far cry from the dazed woman slumped on an airport chair, bra and stomach exposed, her yellow Jet Airways blazer ripped away.
Recalling the deadliest terror attack in Belgian history, the flight attendant remembers preparing for a routine flight to Newark, New Jersey. She had flown in from Mumbai the day before.
"I saw the first human suicide bomb attack but I couldn't figure out what it was," she tells CNN. "It looked as if something exploded ... I always thought it had to be a wheelchair with lithium batteries."
Her immediate reaction was to offer help, but a colleague held her back.
"Within those moments, those few seconds, while we were talking -- the crowd started running towards all directions ... those who couldn't find the exit in that chaos, they were rushing towards us, the cries, people started screaming."
Looking for an escape route, she turned towards the towering bird-like Olivier Strebelle statue in the departure hall's center. Then another blast hit.
"I flew a few meters maybe," 41-year-old Chaphekar says. "I landed on my legs and then I collapsed ... that's how I got a full cut behind my head."
She tried desperately to move but the trauma was too intense.
"I looked but I couldn't see anything because of the smoke so I kept telling [myself] 'Nidhi, sit down, move!' It was so bad, my legs were, that I was unable to move."
As a soldier ran past her, Chaphekar cried out for assistance. With his help, she flopped onto a plastic chair. Her face streaked with blood, she was badly burned and had a severe foot injury.
Her first aid training kicked in, she grabbed at her chest in search of her security lanyard to use it as a makeshift tourniquet, but it had come away.
"I wanted to stop the bleeding of my left leg ... that's the reason my leg was on top of that arm rest, I was trying to push my leg to stop the bleeding."
While she waited for emergency responders to arrive, she offered support to survivors passing her.
To this day, she retains this comforting manner as she explains: "I was showing hope that we have survived, we will survive."
Two and a half hours later, she was wheeled into a hospital in Antwerp, where doctors conducted an initial assessment. They pressed down on her organs to check functionality and inquired about her pain levels.
Answering all their questions, she offered her husband Rupesh's contact details for their home back in Mumbai and asked them to inform her family. She knew news of the attacks would have reached India and was concerned her children, a 15-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter, would be scared.
The following day on April 23, she was airlifted just over 50 kilometers south of Brussels to the Grande Hopital de Charleroi, where she would recuperate further before departing to India.
Her first goal: Stay awake
For nine hours after the blasts, her loved ones were clueless about her condition or whereabouts. The only thing keeping them going: the photograph.
"In those nine hours only that picture gave hope to my kids," she says. "That picture doesn't show that I'm affected so much. The pictures shows that yes she's there. She's alive. She's sitting. She's fine. She'll be given bandages and she'll be back."
Throughout her journey to the hospital in Antwerp, her focus had been on staying awake.