On Tuesday in Brussels, Americans and brother and sister Sascha and Alexander Pinczowski had just arrived at the airport to check in for their flight back to New York. Alexander was talking to his mother on the phone when two explosions erupted.
The line went dead. The two haven’t been heard from since and have been feared killed, CNN recounted.
Since then, their families have been eagerly awaiting news that the siblings, counted among the missing since the terror attacks, were still alive. The bad news came Thursday.
On Thursday, the family received a list from Belgian authorities of the remaining victims still alive.
“Sadly, our beloved Alexander and Sascha were not among them,” the family said in a statement.
Early Friday, they released a longer statement to CBS News.
“We received confirmation this morning from Belgian Authorities and the Dutch Embassy of the positive identification of the remains of Alexander and Sascha. We are grateful to have closure on this tragic situation, and are thankful for the thoughts and prayers from all. The family is in the process of making arrangements.”
Although U.S. officials have confirmed that Americans were killed in Brussels, they haven’t named anyone. An official close to the investigation confirmed to NBC News, however, that an “identity match” was confirmed for “both Alex and Sascha.”
They are among 31 killed and 270 wounded in explosions at the airport and a metro station.
The Pinczowski siblings lived in New York City and are Dutch citizens; they have family in the Netherlands. Alexander was engaged, his bride-to-be the daughter of a former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark.
Unfortunately, Friday’s confirmation that at least two Americans were killed in the terror attacks may just be the beginning, as a U.S. official warned that those who are still missing may also be confirmed dead, according to the Washington Post.
Still missing are Americans Stephanie and Justin Shults. They are from Tennessee and have lived and worked in Belgium since 2014. On Tuesday, they were in Brussels dropping Stephanie’s mother, Carolyn, at the airport. She was just walking through security when the explosions erupted. She hasn’t heard from her daughter or son-in-law since.
“It’s the longest day of my life. It’s just frustrating not knowing. Not knowing is maddening,” said Justin’s brother, Levi Sutton.
Emily Eisenman is waiting in Georgia to hear from her boyfriend, Bart Migom. He was at the Brussels airport, heading to the states to visit her. He arrived at the airport at 7:30 a.m., his flight scheduled for take-off at 10:30 a.m.
“But I don’t think he ever made it. I have not heard from him and neither has his family, who I’ve been in contact with all day. They have been to hospitals and everywhere they can think of but have not heard from Bart. This is not like him. He is a good communicator.”
Meanwhile, suspicion is growing that Americans were targeted in the Brussels strikes, ABC News reported. Rep. Devin Nunes, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee and has been briefed on the matter, said that “from my vantage point it does look like an attack on Americans.”
The first bombers positioned themselves near the United, American, and Delta airline stands, and the metro bombing occurred near the U.S. Embassy. A member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Eric Swalwell, agreed. It’s not yet clear, however, whether ISIS directed the attacks that have killed at least two American citizens.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Brussels Friday and spoke with the Belgian prime minister to join together in prayer and grief “for the loved ones of those cruelly taken from us.” He also gave an impassioned speech in response to the 31 killed, among them possibly four of his own countrymen.
“We — all of us representing countless nationalities — have a message for those who inspired or carried out the attacks here or in Paris, or Ankara, or Tunis, or San Bernardino, or elsewhere: We will not be intimidated. We will not be deterred. We will come back with greater resolve – with greater strength – and we will not rest until we have eliminated your nihilistic beliefs and cowardice from the face of the Earth.”
[Photo by Alastair Grant/AP]