ROME (AP) — Victims of the attacks on Brussels’ airport and subway included commuters heading to work and travelers setting off on long-anticipated vacations. In a city that’s home to international institutions including the European Union and NATO, they came from Belgium and around the world. Among the confirmed dead:
Patricia Rizzo’s family hails from a tiny town in Sicily, but she was as broadly European as they come.
Born in Belgium to a family originally from Calascibetta, near Enna, Sicily, Rizzo graduated from a Belgian university and worked for several Belgian companies as an executive secretary before joining European institutions in 1995.
The Italian Foreign Ministry confirmed Friday that Rizzo, 48, was among the dead from the attack on the Brussels subway at Maelbeek.
“Unfortunately, Patricia is no longer with us,” a man who identified himself as Rizzo’s cousin, Massimo Leonora, wrote on Facebook. His final post capped days of anxious updates recounting his search of Brussels hospitals in hopes that Rizzo might have been among the injured.
“It’s difficult, but at least now we’re beyond this unending race against time to find you.”
Rizzo moved back to Italy from 2003 to 2008 to work as the assistant to the executive director of the European Food Safety Authority.
In 2008, she was named human resources assistant for the EU’s education and culture agency in Brussels and for the past five months had worked in the human resources department of the European Research Council.
“After a few days of excruciating waiting and angst, our worst fears have been confirmed,” the ERC’s executive leadership said Saturday, praising Rizzo’s energy, attitude and spirit.
The Research Council said Rizzo is survived by a son and her parents.
Jennifer Scintu Waetzmann was a coach for a youth handball club in Aachen, Germany.
Her uncle, Claudio Scinto, told the German newspaper Bild that she and her husband were checking in at the American Airlines counter at Brussels Airport Tuesday morning when the first extremist bomb exploded. He told the newspaper they were going on a belated honeymoon to New York.
The blasts killed her and left her husband, Lars Waetzmann, among the 270 wounded in Brussels on Tuesday.
Her final post on Facebook came right after the November extremist assaults on Paris. It said: “Pray for Paris.” Other pictures show her and her husband in romantic seaside settings with the inscription: “Love of my life.”
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Friday his thoughts are with Waetzmann’s family and vowed Germany “will not rest until the murderers and those who aided them are held responsible.”
Elita Borbor Weah, who was heading to Rhode Island for her stepfather’s funeral, had texted family members a photo of herself Tuesday at Brussels Airport.
A short time later, two suicide bombers struck the airport, leaving Weah among their victims.
The 40-year-old had been living in the Netherlands with her 13-year-old daughter after her extended family from Liberia had dispersed across West Africa, Europe and the United States following Liberia’s civil wars.
Her brother Oscar Weah, of Providence, Rhode Island, was shaking and in tears Friday as he described how his older sister helped care for him over the years. Other relatives also sang her praises.
“She had a good heart,” said 14-year-old niece Eden Weah. “She was always worried about everybody.”
Now, in addition to holding a funeral for her 87-year-old stepfather, the family was making arrangements to care for her teenage daughter.
David Dixon had texted family members to say he was safe after two bombs severely damaged Brussels airport, but he was killed shortly after when a bomber attacked the subway system.
Dixon, 53, a British citizen, was working as a computer programmer at the time of his death, which was confirmed Friday by Britain’s Foreign Office.
Friends and family had been searching for him since he failed to arrive at work Tuesday morning in the hours after the bomb attacks. Press reports indicated he lived in Brussels with his partner and their son.
“This morning we received the most terrible and devastating news about our beloved David,” said a statement sent out by officials on behalf of Dixon’s family Friday. “At this most painful time our family would gratefully appreciate it if we could be left alone to grieve in private.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “deeply saddened” by the death of Dixon, who was originally from Hartlepool, in northeastern England.
Two New York City siblings are among the dead, their family said Friday.
Alexander and Sascha Pinczowski, Dutch nationals who lived in the U.S., were headed home to the United States when a bomb exploded at the Brussels airport Tuesday morning. Alexander, 29, was on the phone with his mother in the Netherlands when the line went dead, said James Cain, whose daughter Cameron was engaged to Alexander.
“We received confirmation this morning from Belgian authorities and the Dutch embassy of the positive identification of the remains of Alexander and Sascha from the terrorist bombing at the Brussels Airport,” Cain said on behalf of the Pinczowski family. “We are grateful to have closure on this tragic situation.”
Alexander had traveled to the Netherlands to work on a craft-related business that he and Cameron were going to start together, Cain said.
The couple met six years ago while taking summer courses in Durham, North Carolina. They had planned to marry within the year.
Sascha Pinczowski, 26, was a 2015 graduate of Marymount Manhattan College in New York with a degree in business. She spent last summer as an intern at a catering company, Shiraz Events.
Shiraz Events President Shai Tertner called her “a bright, hardworking young woman, with a great career ahead of her.”
She had told friends she was looking forward to returning to New York with her brother.
The Chinese Embassy in Belgium said Friday that a Chinese national was killed in the attacks. He was identified only by his surname — Deng. No further details were released.
Born in Peru, Adelma Tapia Ruiz dreamed of opening a restaurant. She had lived in Belgium for nine years but still cooked the recipes of her homeland, preparing the spicy chicken dish aji de gallina for a food festival organized by the Peruvian consulate in Brussels last year.
Tapia, 37, was killed when a bomb tore through the departures area of Brussels airport on Tuesday, her family confirmed. A split-second decision saved her husband and 4-year-old twin daughters Maureen and Alondra from sharing her fate.
Her Belgian husband, Christophe Delcambe, had taken the girls out of the check-in line to play for a moment when a loud explosion ripped through the concourse. One daughter was struck in the arm by shrapnel and is being treated in a local hospital.
Her brother, Fernando Tapia, told The Associated Press his sister was preparing to catch a flight to New York to meet up with two sisters who live in the United States.
Tapia and her husband lived in the town of Tubize, south of Brussels, and her brother said she will likely be buried in her adopted homeland.
Leopold Hecht was gravely wounded in the bombing at Maelbeek subway station and died later of his injuries.
The rector of Saint-Louis University in Brussels, Pierre Jadoul, said Hecht, 20, was “one of the unfortunate victims of these barbaric acts.”
“There are no words to describe our dismay at this news,” he said in a letter to students.
Classmates lit handles and left flowers outside the university in memory of Hecht, whose Facebook profile includes pictures of a smiling young man on the ski slopes and in the great outdoors.
Civil servant Olivier Delespesse also died in the bombing at Maelbeek metro station, according to his employer, the Federation Wallonie-Bruxelles.