World
World

The Brussels attack victims were from all over the world. Here are some of their stories

The victims were from more than 40 countries, and they included mothers, students, siblings and missionaries.

The 31 people killed and the more than 260 injured in the bombings in Brussels on Tuesday morning reflected the international nature of Brussels -- both as the home of the European Union parliament, and as the capital of a country with a large immigrant population.

For several days after the blasts, some relatives and friends posted pictures on social media and asked for information about those reported missing, only to see their worst fears confirmed.

Belgian authorities have not released a list of the names and nationalities of the victims, but at least three of the dead – siblings Alexander and Sascha Pinczowski, and 21-year-old marketing student Bart Migom -- were from the U.S.

Here's what we know so far:

Elita Borbor Weah

Elita Borbor Weah stands in the Brussels Airport shortly before bombs went off nearby on March 22, 2016. Weah, who was on her way to Rhode Island for her stepfather's funeral, texted the photo of herself to family members just before she died in the attack. (Associated Press)

Elita Borbor Weah, who was heading to Rhode Island for her stepfather's funeral, had texted family members a photo of herself Tuesday at Brussels Airport.

A short time later, two suicide bombers struck the airport, leaving Weah among their victims.

The 40-year-old had been living in the Netherlands with her 13-year-old daughter after her extended family from Liberia had dispersed across West Africa, Europe and the United States following Liberia's civil wars.

Her brother Oscar Weah, of Providence, Rhode Island, was shaking and in tears Friday as he described how his older sister helped care for him over the years. Other relatives also sang her praises.

"She had a good heart," said 14-year-old niece Eden Weah. "She was always worried about everybody."

Now, in addition to holding a funeral for her 87-year-old stepfather, the family was making arrangements to care for her teenage daughter.

David Dixon

David Dixon had texted family members to say he was safe after two bombs severely damaged Brussels airport, but he was killed shortly after when a bomber attacked the subway system.

Dixon, 53, a British citizen, was working as a computer programmer at the time of his death, which was confirmed Friday by Britain's Foreign Office.

Friends and family had been searching for him since he failed to arrive at work Tuesday morning in the hours after the bomb attacks. Press reports indicated he lived in Brussels with his partner and their son.

"This morning we received the most terrible and devastating news about our beloved David," said a statement sent out by officials on behalf of Dixon's family Friday. "At this most painful time our family would gratefully appreciate it if we could be left alone to grieve in private."

Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "deeply saddened" by the death of Dixon, who was originally from Hartlepool, in northeastern England.

Alexander and Sascha Pinczowski

Alexander and Sascha Pinczowski, Dutch nationals who lived in the U.S., were headed back to America.

A brother and sister from New York were among the 31 people killed in this week's bombings of an airport and subway station in Brussels, officials confirmed Friday.

Sascha and Alexander Pinczowski, Dutch nationals who lived in the U.S., were at Brussels Airport on Tuesday when bombs exploded in the departure area, where travelers were waiting to check in for their flights, according to a family spokesman.

"Two young siblings from our city were taken from us far too soon, and our hearts break for the family and friends of Sascha and Alexander," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

The pair were headed back to America, and Alexander, 29, was on the phone with his mother when the attack happened, said James Cain, whose daughter Cameron was engaged to Alexander, according to the Associated Press.

Family and friends had been searching for information about the pair since Tuesday and have posted tributes on Facebook.

Sascha was "one of a kind and I have never met a more vibrant person," a former classmate wrote. Another friend posted: "Sascha is our little sunshine. The most amazing, kind hearted and goofy person I know."

Sascha graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in New York in 2015 and was a former intern at UNICEF USA. Shiraz Events, an events company, in a statement said she had a "warm and lively presence."

"Her maturity, motivation, humor and professionalism were marked characteristics in someone of her young age, and we felt that she had a great future in our industry," the company wrote.

Alexander was a "big guy foodie, who loved dogs, traveling, NY and making fun of Fox News," a friend posted on Facebook, who called him and his sister "kind hearted souls."

Alexander had traveled to the Netherlands to work on a craft-related business that he was going to start with his fiancee, whom he met in North Carolina six years ago, Cain told the AP.

"Their lives were cut short by cowards who have chosen extremism and hate instead of peace and unity," New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement, calling the siblings "two of our own."

Adelma Tapia Ruiz

On Tuesday morning, Adelma Tapia was in line with her family at the Brussels Airport to check in for a flight to New York.

Her husband and their 3-year-old twins stepped outside the check-in area so the girls could play. Moments later, the suicide bombers struck.

That is the account that Tapia’s brother, Fernando, received back home in Peru. He said that her husband, Christophe Delcambe, and the twins escaped life-threatening injuries.

Delcambe went looking for his wife but couldn’t find her. Her body was the first identified among those killed in the attack.

Adelma Tapia, 36, had studied to be a chef in her native Peru and met her husband, who is Belgian, nine years ago when they were both traveling in Puno, near the border with Bolivia.

They planned to open a restaurant in downtown Brussels featuring her native Peruvian cuisine.

Her brother, a journalist, said several siblings plan to travel to Belgium for her funeral in the town of Tubize, about 20 miles southwest of Brussels.

“We would rather have her close to us here, but we totally understand it’s not possible because she has a family in Belgium and that’s where she should stay,” he said.

He said his sister was active in women’s rights issues and had participated earlier this month in a march in Brussels in favor of immigrants’ rights.

“She was the most outgoing and smiling of my sisters,” Tapia said. “She was an activist and had no shame or hesitancy in standing up for just causes.”

“This is a terrible blow that I don’t know how we will overcome,” he said.

Leopold Hecht

Leopold Hecht, 20, studied law at Saint-Louis University in Brussels.

"There are no words to describe our dismay in the face of this news," Rector Pierre Jadoul wrote on Facebook. "All our thoughts go out to his family and loved ones."

Classmates lit handles and left flowers outside the university in memory of Hecht, whose Facebook profile includes pictures of a smiling young man on the ski slopes and in the great outdoors.

Olivier Delespesse

In the hours after the attacks, Olivier Delespesse's friends began to worry. They had no news of the 45-year-old, who stopped at the Maelbeek metro station each morning. Nor did his employer, the Federation of Wallonia-Brussels.

When they called, Delespesse didn't answer his cellphone.

"Our friend may be in a coma, intubated without having been able to give his identity, or may be dead, but it's impossible to know where he is," Cath Dubois posted on Facebook in a plea for more information.

Shortly after, Delespesse's employer confirmed the worst: He had died in the metro explosion.

"Profoundly sad to learn that an employee of the FW-B died yesterday in the Brussels metro," the company wrote on Facebook. "Our thoughts are with his family and friends."

Delespesse's co-worker Olivier Dradin also shared the news online.

"I will be thinking of him and his family and all the other victims," he said.

This post will be updated.

Special correspondents Boyle and Leon reported from London and Lima, Peru, respectively. Special correspondent Chris Kraul in Bogota and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

MORE:

Belgium identifies brothers as Brussels suicide bombers; third attacker is being sought

Hunt is on for Brussels bombings suspect; Islamic State warns of more, worse attacks

What we know about the Brussels attacks Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

Loading
70°