“I just remember a feeling of helplessness,” said Kara.
The 22-year-old, who asked WAVY not reveal her last name, had been visiting her boyfriend in the Belgian city.
On the morning of March 22, she arrived at the Brussels Airport, preparing to travel home. Within a matter of minutes, two bombs exploded in coordinated suicide attacks.
“I was actually standing with the officer at border control when all of a sudden, I heard someone yelling and then an explosion,” she said. “Everyone was just standing there frozen for a second and then everyone just started running.”
Panicked amidst the chaos, Kara bolted down a flight of stairs. In a matter of minutes, she ended up hiding beneath a stairwell with a Belgian couple.
“The three of us [were]… just on the ground, crying and shaking. And just praying out, ‘God save us, God help us,’” she said. “It was just the most helpless feeling you could imagine, just not knowing if I would see my family again, or my boyfriend again or if I would make it out of there.”
Unable to call, Kara texted her mother.
“There is a terrorist in the airport,” the message read.
Kara’s mother, Karen, recounted her fear upon reading it.
“My heart sank. I said, ‘Am I reading this right?’ It was my worst nightmare come true,” Karen said. “She was texting me like she was going to die. She was saying her goodbyes.”
Kara and the couple were ultimately led toward a mob of people with the help of a police officer. In shifts, buses brought them to the airport hangar.
Kara said she was assisted and comforted by several different people, who she now refers to as her “angels.”
“We were just instantly a family, I just remember, how cool it was to see, even though [there were] these few people that were so evil — there’s so much more good, you know, it was so evident when we were there,” she said.
Kara believes she would have been directly in the path of the bombs had the attack happened 15 minutes earlier. She is thanking God for surviving.
“She’s safe, she’s alive and yeah, thank you God,” her mom told WAVY.
“I just think it’s obvious he was with me and looking out for me,” Kara said.
Kara was able to travel home safely last week, through a different airport.
At least 32 people were killed in the attacks and hundreds were injured.