BRUSSELS — What on any other day would have been an irritating encounter for a traveler — a late train, a full elevator — likely saved the life of a young man in Brussels who narrowly avoided being in the center of a terror attack at a Belgian airport.
Passenger Cedric Vanderswalm, 20, was at Brussels Airport on Tuesday planning to fly to London for his job as an animator.
He told the Associated Press he was heading to the airport’s departures level but the elevator was full.
“So I didn’t get in,” he recalled. “I waited and I was about to step into the elevator when there was a big explosion.”
It was then that he saw people running and dropping their luggage.
“If I had taken the previous elevator, I would have been right in the explosion,” he said. “My train also had a 5-minute delay, so I was lucky.”
Instead, Vanderswalm escaped physically unscathed, save for the soot and dust coating the left side of his face.
Two explosions Tuesday morning rocked Brussels’ airport, officials said. A third blast struck in the city’s Maelbeek metro station. A Belgian federal prosecutor said at least one of the blasts at the airport was probably caused by a suicide bomber.
Authorities said there are dead at both sites and while the death toll has been fluctuating, it appears to be in the dozens with hundreds more injured.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks.