Tears flow as rattled air travelers return to RDU from Las Vegas

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Families reunite at RDU following the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas. (WTVD)

The carnage caused by a shooter in Las Vegas horrified viewers worldwide. But Bria Tillman, her sister, and two friends told ABC11 that waiting on a plane out of Las Vegas for hours made them and other passengers nervous, too.

McCarran International Airport is a very short drive from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, where a lone gunman opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers several stories below his hotel room.

READ MORE: 58 dead, more than 515 injured in Las Vegas concert attack

At first, all they knew was what the pilot said when the delayed takeoff was announced.

"They thought that someone was shooting a movie because there were lots of helicopters in the way that we were gonna travel," said Tillman. "Then they came back on about 30 minutes later and told us there was an active shooter. It was very traumatic 'cause you didn't know where the shooter was. That he was different places, that he hadn't been caught, that there were multiple shootings."

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Her sister Alexia Owens said, "It's pretty scary, actually, to think that it was that close to us, for us to be right there."

Both women hugged their mother as soon as they saw her waiting inside Raleigh-Durham International Airport's Terminal Two.

Tillman broke down, weeping as her mom embraced her.

"I was like, 'Thank you, Jesus ... I'm home; I'm safe.' Tillman said. "And I was just praying the whole time."

The women used their smartphones to monitor the situation at the hotel and reassure their anxious mother back in North Carolina.

While authorities in Nevada temporarily canceled all flights, they learned about the extent of the massacre.

"Fifty people were dead," said Tillman with tears in her eyes. "And it's just startling because we were literally there yesterday."

It started off a visit to celebrate two birthdays - hers and her sister's - but it ended in tragedy.

Tillman said it was her first visit to Las Vegas.

"Yes, first and last. I'm not going back!"

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deadly shootingmass shootinglas vegas mass shootingraleigh newsRaleigh
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