Some US citizens still missing after Belgium bombings
The U.S. State Department is still working to account for all Americans who were in Brussels during Tuesday’s bomb attacks in the city, a spokesman said on Wednesday, as local media reported that family members were seeking news of missing relatives.
At least 31 people were killed and 260 wounded in the attacks on Brussels’ airport and subway. U.S. officials said on Tuesday that eight Americans, including three Mormon missionaries and a U.S. Air Force airman and four members of his family were injured in the bombings.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner told CNN on Wednesday that it now appeared that about a dozen Americans were injured. He could not confirm whether any U.S. citizens had been killed.
“It’s a very fluid situation on the ground there,” Toner said. “We’re still getting information, we’re still trying to seek out the whereabouts of American citizens … Obviously, Brussels on any given day, is chock full of American citizens.”
Apart from the eight Americans confirmed as wounded on Tuesday, U.S. media reported on Wednesday that relatives of at least four other Americans who had been traveling in Belgium are still trying to track them down.
Husband and wife Justin and Stephanie Shults, originally from Tennessee and Kentucky, respectively, but now living in Belgium, were also missing after having dropped off a relative at the airport shortly before the blasts, Justin Shults’ brother, Levi Sutton, said in an electronic message.
“We haven’t been able to contact them going on 30 hours,” Sutton said. “Stephanie’s mom is fine but she was separated from Justin and Stephanie.”
Sister and brother Sascha and Alexander Pinczowski, who had been living in New York, remain unaccounted for, the New York Daily News reported, citing a family friend and a Dutch newspaper. The Pinczowskis’ citizenship was unclear.
A woman who identified herself on social media as Alexander Pinczowski’s girlfriend said she had been unable to contact him since Tuesday morning.
Major U.S. transportation hubs were on high alert following the attacks, though U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said there were no known specific and credible threats to the United States as of Tuesday.
(Reporting by Megan Cassella; Additional reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Frances Kerry)