American Air Force Officer and Family, Mormon Missionaries Injured in Brussels Attacks
The American injured include an Air Force officer and five of his family members. Details on their current condition have not been released. The U.S. European Command stated that it is in the process of confirming the safety of all U.S. military personnel and their families in the area, according to the Associated Press. The U.S. Embassy in Brussels has requested that U.S. government personnel defer non-essential travel to Brussels until next Tuesday.
Four Mormon missionaries from Utah were also injured in the airport explosion — not three as originally reported — according to Mormon officials. All four were hospitalized. According to a news release from the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints (LDS), three of the missionaries — who were serving on a mission in Paris — were accompanying the fourth missionary who was traveling to a mission assignment in Ohio. The remaining missionaries in the France Paris Mission have been asked to stay in their homes at this time.
The four missionaries have been identified as Richard Norby (66) of Lehi, Utah; Joseph Empey (20) of Santa Clara, Utah; Mason Wells (19) of Sandy, Utah; and Fanny Rachel Clain (20) of Montelimar, France. Clain was stationed in Brussels while awaiting a permanent visa for the United States, LDS News reported. Clain’s injuries are said to be minor.
Wells’ parents told ABC News that the Brussels attack was their son’s third brush with terrorism. He was in France during last year’s Paris terrorist attacks and present near the Boston Marathon bombing as well.
The LDS church issued a formal statement in response to the Brussels attacks:
With much of the world, we awoke this morning to the heartbreaking news of the bombings in Belgium. Our prayers are with the families of the deceased and injured, including four of our missionaries who were injured and hospitalized. We also pray for the people of Belgium and France as they continue to deal with the uncertainty and devastation caused by the recent terrorist attacks.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the double bombings.