Two young players with Portimonense football club escaped unharmed from the carnage of Brussels airport bomb blasts that killed 14 people on Tuesday injuring 96 more, while a 30-year-old nurse from Coimbra was treated for injuries received in the attack on Maalbeek tube station an hour later where another 20 people died and 106 were hurt, some of them seriously.
As we wrote this story, news in from Lusa suggests as many as 21 Portuguese passport holders are among the injured.
Secretary of State for the Communities José Luís Carneiro has not given further details, but they are certain to emerge during today.
Meantime, news reports have concentrated on seventeen-year-olds Alexandre Pimenta and Francisco Pacheco who had cleared airport check-in early yesterday morning, and were asleep in the embarkation hall, awaiting an onward flight to Venice.
According to reports, the boys “heard a deafening noise” and then stayed on the runway for some time “in the company of airport authorities”.
The youngsters managed to reassure family and friends via telephone and will be continuing with their plans to try out for an Italian club, said their lawyer Marco Correio da Oliveira, adding that they hope to fly this afternoon. “We just don’t know from which airport.”
Meantime, a Coimbra nurse, who works at a clinic in the city and was injured in the metro blast, is reported to have been released from hospital and recovering back at her home.
Here, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa addressed the nation hours after the blasts, to denounce the attacks as “blind and cowardly”, and confirm that Portuguese authorities were “accompanying our compatriot” who had been injured in Maalbeek.
Flights in and out of the Belgian capital remain cancelled for a second day while the world’s attention focused on efforts to locate “the third man” seen leaving the airport shortly before the two suicide bombers detonated their devastating nail bomb devices.
According to Sky News, many of the injured have “lost limbs and suffered terrible burns and lacerations”.
Photo: People gather and light candles at the Place de la Bourse during a vigil to pay tribute to the victims of the attacks in Brussels, Belgium, on March 22.
Photo by: YOAN VALAT/EPA