David Dixon, 51, texted his aunt to reassure her he was safe after the airport blasts but happened to be on the metro system when a suicide bomber blew himself up about an hour later. Photo / Supplied
A British computer programmer who had just messaged his family to say he was safe; Dutch siblings phoning a relative just as the bombs went off: harrowing stories continued to emerge Friday of the 31 killed in the Brussels attacks.
Reflecting the cosmopolitan nature of Brussels, the symbolic capital of Europe, victims came from as far afield as Peru, China and the United States, as well as neighbouring France and the Netherlands.
The US State Department announced that two Americans had been killed in the attacks on Tuesday, claimed by the Islamic State, and that others were missing.
Briton David Dixon, 51, texted his aunt to reassure her he was safe after the airport blasts but happened to be on the metro system when a suicide bomber blew himself up about an hour later, British media said.
His family issued a statement calling the news “terrible and devastating”.
The British Foreign Office said seven other Britons were injured, three of whom were still in hospital.
Dutch siblings Alexander and Sascha Pinczowski, who lived in New York, were reportedly on the phone to relatives when the airport bomb went off, cutting off the line.
“It’s awful that these people were killed by a random act of terror,” Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said.
Dutch siblings Alexander and Sascha Pinczowski (pictured), who lived in New York, were reportedly on the phone to relatives when the airport bomb went off, cutting off the line. Photo / Supplied
The Netherlands lost at least one other citizen in the attacks, named by Dutch media as Elita Weah, 41, who was traveling to her stepfather’s funeral in the US.
Forensic experts continued the grisly task of identifying the remains. But the process is painstakingly slow, complicated by the violence of the explosions and because many of the victims were from overseas.
Elita Borbor Weah stands in the Brussels Airport in Brussels, Belgium, shortly before bombs went off nearby. Photo / AP
Some 30 specialists are working to identify the bodies or remains of victims recovered from the attack scenes.
A Facebook page where worried relatives, friends and colleagues can post notices of the missing has been set up. Pictures already uploaded show men and women, young and old, from Belgium and across the globe.
Adelma Tapia Ruiz. Photo / Supplied
Adelma Marina Tapia Ruiz, a 37-year-old Peruvian woman who lived in Belgium, was killed in the airport blasts, the foreign ministry in Lima confirmed.
Her husband and twin daughters had a miraculously lucky escape as he had run off after them as they played.
Another victim was Belgian civil servant Olivier Delespesse, according to his employer.
He was killed in the metro attack, local media reported, along with 20-year-old Belgian law student Leopold Hecht, who was identified by his university.
The family of 21-year-old Bart Migom, who was travelling to see his American girlfriend, had declared him missing, and the Belgian college where he was a student on Friday said he too was one of the victims.
Around 150 fellow students later held a vigil for Migom, according to a college spokesman.
“His parents told us this morning that he died immediately, he was really close to the spot,” he added.
France’s foreign ministry said a Frenchman had died in the attacks and 12 other citizens were injured, three of them seriously, while German police announced that a national had died in the airport blast.
A Chinese national was also among those killed, the Chinese embassy in Belgium confirmed Friday.