US victim of Brussels bombing ‘lucky’ to be alive
A Mormon missionary who survived the blasts at the Brussels airport says he's lucky to be alive after previous brushes with fate at the Boston Marathon bombings and the France terror attacks.
Mason Wells was standing in line at a Delta check-in counter when the first explosion went off just feet (meters) away, he told CNN on Friday.
“My body was actually picked up off the ground for a moment,” he said. “My left shoe was blown off and a large part of the right side of my body got really hot and then really cold and I was covered in… a lot of blood that wasn’t mine.”
It wasn’t the first time the 19-year-old had been near a terror attack.
Three years ago, he was standing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon when two bombs detonated close by, killing three people and injuring more than 250.
In November, Wells was in France — but not Paris — when members of the Islamic State group attacked a concert hall, major stadium and restaurants and bars, leaving 130 people dead and hundreds wounded.
Unscathed in those two attacks, Wells says he was “lucky” to be alive after suffering extensive injuries on Tuesday, including shrapnel wounds, a ruptured Achilles tendon and second- and third-degree burns on his hands and face.
Speaking from his hospital bed through heavy bandages, he said he had started to run toward an exit when the second bomb detonated.
“I actually felt the explosion on my right side, I could feel the blast,” he said. After that, he added, he saw many injured and dead people.
The bombings at the airport and the Brussels metro killed 31 and wounded some 300.
At least two Americans died in the attacks, officials said Friday.
Wells, a native of Utah, and two other American Mormon missionaries were at the airport escorting a fellow French missionary to an Ohio-bound flight. All three were injured.
“My parents always told me that everything happens for a reason,” Wells told ABC News about his proximity to three separate terror attacks.
“I don’t know why I was in those places,” he added. “I believe that God’s plan is a lot bigger than maybe we imagine.”
Asked how he felt about the experience, he told CNN his thoughts are with those who suffered worse injuries.
“My own feelings are just for the people that are out there,” he said.
“I hope that they’re doing okay. I’ve just wanted to pray for them.”