As families wait, details emerge about Brussels attacks victims

News Mar 25, 2016 by Wendy Gillis OurWindsor.Ca

BRUSSELS — Even in improv class, a place packed with exuberant, outgoing people, Léopold Hecht stood out. He was that smart, that funny, said friend Charline Lerinck.

A lot of people knew Hecht in a more sober setting. The 20-year-old was a second-year university student at Brussels’ Saint-Louis University, studying law. He was politically involved with his university’s chapter of the Liberal students’ federation, a group that described him as a motivated young man with “a love of life.”

But Lerinck had the pleasure of getting to know him in a laid-back, often silly context that suited him well.

“At class he was just nice to everyone, because he was a really sociable kind of guy. And he seemed to always have jokes to make,” she said, her eyes beginning to well up.

Hecht is among the first victims of the March 22 terrorist attacks in Belgium to be identified. He is one of at least 31 people who perished following explosions at the Brussels airport and the subway. At least another 270 people were wounded.

Hecht was killed in the latter attack at Maelbeek metro station. Desperate for answers in the chaotic hours that followed, his family attempted to find him.

“We are still looking for Léopold Hecht,” a relative wrote on Facebook. “Even if you have little information, contact me.”

“Bruxelles, if you’ve seen my brother Léopold Hecht, let me know,” his brother tweeted.

Subsequently, a relative posted online that Hecht had been found and was in hospital, but later died of his injuries, according to a student association Hecht was involved with, a group for young entrepreneurs.

Word of Hecht’s death officially came from university president Pierre Jadoul. “There are no words to describe our confusion in the face of this news. All of our thoughts are with his family and his loved ones,” Jadoul said in a statement.

“He was one of the unfortunate victims of the barbaric acts perpetrated on March 22 at the metro station Maelbeek.”

Hecht’s parents are “completely collapsing,” Erraji Fatima Zohra, who is friends with one of his relatives, said in an interview. “It’s awful to think that these things can happen, that a child can die before their parents. They are not doing well. How could they be?”

The identities of others killed in Tuesday’s attacks are beginning to emerge through social media and news media; there are reports that among the dead are a mother of 4-year old twin girls and a civil servant who worked for the French Community of Belgium.

Other families still wait to learn the fate of a missing relative, feared dead in the attacks. The Belgian federal prosecutor’s office has said forensic investigators are still in the process of conducting DNA testing to identify the dead. It could take hours, days or longer.

On a poster taped up in the centre of downtown Brussels, one of the waiting families asks if anyone has seen a bespectacled young woman named Johanna Atlegrim. She stares out, smiling, in accompanying photos. “(She) was in the metro at the time of the attacks. . . Any information at all is helpful.”

For some who survived but had a close call, on Thursday there was some relief — the promise of home after a terrifying and exhausting experience.

G. A. Easwar was among those who was bound for home on a flight to Toronto, three days after narrowly missing the terrorist attacks in the Brussels airport.

His plane had just landed after a family vacation in India when the explosions went off. When he and others walked off the plane into the airport, there were people running everywhere. He didn’t see any damage, but Easwar heard enough to know that he and his family needed to run out of the airport, immediately.

“Someone said ‘bomb’ and I just ran. I was in jeans and a T-shirt,” he said in an interview. “I was in panic mode.”

After staying amongst dozens of other stranded travellers in cots in a hangar outside Brussels for the last few nights, Easwar and his family boarded a bus to Amsterdam and took a flight home, at no cost, with his original airline, Jet Airways.

Toronto Star

As families wait, details emerge about Brussels attacks victims

Léopold Hecht, an exuberant and outgoing university student, was one of the first victims to be identified, as many more families continue their search for missing loved ones

News Mar 25, 2016 by Wendy Gillis OurWindsor.Ca

BRUSSELS — Even in improv class, a place packed with exuberant, outgoing people, Léopold Hecht stood out. He was that smart, that funny, said friend Charline Lerinck.

A lot of people knew Hecht in a more sober setting. The 20-year-old was a second-year university student at Brussels’ Saint-Louis University, studying law. He was politically involved with his university’s chapter of the Liberal students’ federation, a group that described him as a motivated young man with “a love of life.”

But Lerinck had the pleasure of getting to know him in a laid-back, often silly context that suited him well.

“At class he was just nice to everyone, because he was a really sociable kind of guy. And he seemed to always have jokes to make,” she said, her eyes beginning to well up.

Hecht is among the first victims of the March 22 terrorist attacks in Belgium to be identified. He is one of at least 31 people who perished following explosions at the Brussels airport and the subway. At least another 270 people were wounded.

Hecht was killed in the latter attack at Maelbeek metro station. Desperate for answers in the chaotic hours that followed, his family attempted to find him.

“We are still looking for Léopold Hecht,” a relative wrote on Facebook. “Even if you have little information, contact me.”

“Bruxelles, if you’ve seen my brother Léopold Hecht, let me know,” his brother tweeted.

Subsequently, a relative posted online that Hecht had been found and was in hospital, but later died of his injuries, according to a student association Hecht was involved with, a group for young entrepreneurs.

Word of Hecht’s death officially came from university president Pierre Jadoul. “There are no words to describe our confusion in the face of this news. All of our thoughts are with his family and his loved ones,” Jadoul said in a statement.

“He was one of the unfortunate victims of the barbaric acts perpetrated on March 22 at the metro station Maelbeek.”

Hecht’s parents are “completely collapsing,” Erraji Fatima Zohra, who is friends with one of his relatives, said in an interview. “It’s awful to think that these things can happen, that a child can die before their parents. They are not doing well. How could they be?”

The identities of others killed in Tuesday’s attacks are beginning to emerge through social media and news media; there are reports that among the dead are a mother of 4-year old twin girls and a civil servant who worked for the French Community of Belgium.

Other families still wait to learn the fate of a missing relative, feared dead in the attacks. The Belgian federal prosecutor’s office has said forensic investigators are still in the process of conducting DNA testing to identify the dead. It could take hours, days or longer.

On a poster taped up in the centre of downtown Brussels, one of the waiting families asks if anyone has seen a bespectacled young woman named Johanna Atlegrim. She stares out, smiling, in accompanying photos. “(She) was in the metro at the time of the attacks. . . Any information at all is helpful.”

For some who survived but had a close call, on Thursday there was some relief — the promise of home after a terrifying and exhausting experience.

G. A. Easwar was among those who was bound for home on a flight to Toronto, three days after narrowly missing the terrorist attacks in the Brussels airport.

His plane had just landed after a family vacation in India when the explosions went off. When he and others walked off the plane into the airport, there were people running everywhere. He didn’t see any damage, but Easwar heard enough to know that he and his family needed to run out of the airport, immediately.

“Someone said ‘bomb’ and I just ran. I was in jeans and a T-shirt,” he said in an interview. “I was in panic mode.”

After staying amongst dozens of other stranded travellers in cots in a hangar outside Brussels for the last few nights, Easwar and his family boarded a bus to Amsterdam and took a flight home, at no cost, with his original airline, Jet Airways.

Toronto Star

As families wait, details emerge about Brussels attacks victims

Léopold Hecht, an exuberant and outgoing university student, was one of the first victims to be identified, as many more families continue their search for missing loved ones

News Mar 25, 2016 by Wendy Gillis OurWindsor.Ca

BRUSSELS — Even in improv class, a place packed with exuberant, outgoing people, Léopold Hecht stood out. He was that smart, that funny, said friend Charline Lerinck.

A lot of people knew Hecht in a more sober setting. The 20-year-old was a second-year university student at Brussels’ Saint-Louis University, studying law. He was politically involved with his university’s chapter of the Liberal students’ federation, a group that described him as a motivated young man with “a love of life.”

But Lerinck had the pleasure of getting to know him in a laid-back, often silly context that suited him well.

“At class he was just nice to everyone, because he was a really sociable kind of guy. And he seemed to always have jokes to make,” she said, her eyes beginning to well up.

Hecht is among the first victims of the March 22 terrorist attacks in Belgium to be identified. He is one of at least 31 people who perished following explosions at the Brussels airport and the subway. At least another 270 people were wounded.

Hecht was killed in the latter attack at Maelbeek metro station. Desperate for answers in the chaotic hours that followed, his family attempted to find him.

“We are still looking for Léopold Hecht,” a relative wrote on Facebook. “Even if you have little information, contact me.”

“Bruxelles, if you’ve seen my brother Léopold Hecht, let me know,” his brother tweeted.

Subsequently, a relative posted online that Hecht had been found and was in hospital, but later died of his injuries, according to a student association Hecht was involved with, a group for young entrepreneurs.

Word of Hecht’s death officially came from university president Pierre Jadoul. “There are no words to describe our confusion in the face of this news. All of our thoughts are with his family and his loved ones,” Jadoul said in a statement.

“He was one of the unfortunate victims of the barbaric acts perpetrated on March 22 at the metro station Maelbeek.”

Hecht’s parents are “completely collapsing,” Erraji Fatima Zohra, who is friends with one of his relatives, said in an interview. “It’s awful to think that these things can happen, that a child can die before their parents. They are not doing well. How could they be?”

The identities of others killed in Tuesday’s attacks are beginning to emerge through social media and news media; there are reports that among the dead are a mother of 4-year old twin girls and a civil servant who worked for the French Community of Belgium.

Other families still wait to learn the fate of a missing relative, feared dead in the attacks. The Belgian federal prosecutor’s office has said forensic investigators are still in the process of conducting DNA testing to identify the dead. It could take hours, days or longer.

On a poster taped up in the centre of downtown Brussels, one of the waiting families asks if anyone has seen a bespectacled young woman named Johanna Atlegrim. She stares out, smiling, in accompanying photos. “(She) was in the metro at the time of the attacks. . . Any information at all is helpful.”

For some who survived but had a close call, on Thursday there was some relief — the promise of home after a terrifying and exhausting experience.

G. A. Easwar was among those who was bound for home on a flight to Toronto, three days after narrowly missing the terrorist attacks in the Brussels airport.

His plane had just landed after a family vacation in India when the explosions went off. When he and others walked off the plane into the airport, there were people running everywhere. He didn’t see any damage, but Easwar heard enough to know that he and his family needed to run out of the airport, immediately.

“Someone said ‘bomb’ and I just ran. I was in jeans and a T-shirt,” he said in an interview. “I was in panic mode.”

After staying amongst dozens of other stranded travellers in cots in a hangar outside Brussels for the last few nights, Easwar and his family boarded a bus to Amsterdam and took a flight home, at no cost, with his original airline, Jet Airways.

Toronto Star