BREAKING: DHS student recounts Brussels airport evacuation

Fee and his mother, father, brother and sister evacuate the terminal and head to the Tarmac with thousands of others. (Courtesy: M. Fee)
Fee and his mother, father, brother and sister evacuate the Brussels airport terminal and head to the Tarmac with thousands of others. (Courtesy: M. Fee)

By Kellen Browning, Editor-in-Chief–

Two terrorist bombings killed 10 people at the Zaventem airport in Brussels, Belgium around 12 a.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday, March 22. Davis High sophomore Mack Fee, en route to Uganda with his family for spring break, was in a shuttle between terminals in the airport when the explosions occurred.

“We got to the other terminal, and there was no one in there. And we didn’t really think anything of it,” Fee explained. “And then we see all these people outside, and they all tell us we have to get out of there, because–they don’t tell us what it was at first, they just tell us to evacuate.”

“And then I heard through word of mouth that there had been an explosion,” he added.

Fee says thousands of people waited out on the Tarmac for about four hours; airport security and police officers passed out food, water and blankets while ambulances and police cars drove by.

Later, Fee and his family were able to take a bus from an airplane hanger to a train station, and walked to a hotel where they are currently awaiting the reopening of the airport. Fee has heard some reports that it will be open by 12 p.m. tomorrow, and others that say it won’t open again until Thursday.

Despite the situation, Fee says he wasn’t too concerned during the evacuation.

“I knew that if bombs had already gone off, the chance that another one’s going to happen after 10 or 20 minutes had gone by was pretty low; they usually tend to be very close to each other,” he said. “So I wasn’t too worried about that. Just kind of we wanted to keep our family together.”

Fee was surprised by the Belgian response to the attacks.

“What I found very interesting was that when all the security people were called in–it seems like in America, if that kind of thing happened, there would be all these people with dogs and big guns [and] armored vehicles,” Fee said. “But all we saw really were people in orange vests and ambulances. If there was a higher level of security, it wasn’t made known to everyone who was there, which I think is pretty good, because there’s no sense in making people more nervous.”

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the Brussels attacks; The New York Times is reporting that the explosions were a result of suicide bombings. About an hour after the airport attack, which injured 100 people, an explosion in a Brussels subway station killed 20 people and injured 130.

Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel: 

According to Reuters, a third bomb was found and destroyed in the airport, and a bomb and an ISIS flag were found in a flat in Brussels. Police are searching for one suspect; the other two are are believed to have committed suicide in the attacks.

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