Victims of the attacks on Brussels’ airport and subway on Tuesday included commuters heading to work and travelers setting off on a long-anticipated vacations. At least 34 people died in the three bomb attacks and over 250 injured. Among the confirmed dead is Adelma Marina Tapia Ruiz.
The 36-year-old Peruvian woman who had lived in Brussels for almost nine years, was traveling with her twin 4-year-old daughters, Maureen and Alondra, to visit her mother in New York when two bombs exploded at Brussels Airport. Ms. Tapia was killed making her one of the first known victims of the terror attack. A split-second decision saved her husband and daughters from sharing her fate.
Her Belgian husband, Christophe Delcambe, who was seeing his family off, had taken the girls out of the check-in line to play for a moment when a loud explosion ripped through the departures area of Brussels airport.
One of the twin girls, Maureen was struck in the arm by shrapnel while Alondra was not injured. Their father, Christopher Delcambe was also injured during the explosion. He and Maureen are currently being treated in a local hospital.
“We danced together at an event for Women’s Day just recently,” said Lady Sindey Jouany, a friend of Ms. Tapia’s who lives in Paris. “She was a very active woman. I’m still in shock. At first I thought it was someone else, and it took time to understand how this could have happened to her and how close to home it has hit.”
Fernando Tapia Coral, Ms. Tapia’s older brother, confirmed his sister’s death in a Facebook post. The daughters were the love of Tapia’s life. After getting married, the couple had difficulty conceiving so they traveled several times to the Amazonian jungle in Peru to seek out medicinal plants to help start a family, Fernando told Associated Press.
“It’s very complicated to describe this pain that we’re feeling at home, but as an older brother I know that I have to do it,” Fernando Tapia wrote. “But even more incomprehensible is not being able to be close to her. And this tragedy today touched the doors of my family this morning in the Brussels airport when my sister Adelma Tapia died in the terrorist attack and was not able to survive this jihadist attack that we’ll never understand.”
In an interview, Mr. Tapia said: “The girls had been playing, and Christopher followed them out of the gate area when the explosion occurred suddenly. Christopher couldn’t find Adelma.”
Ms. Tapia had three sisters and two brothers. “They are in shock and can’t even talk,” Mr. Tapia said. “We are from Pucallpa, and everyone here is also in shock.”
He added that one of his sisters was trying to fly to Belgium to help identify the body.
“Adelma was a chef and had studied marketing; she wanted to set up a Peruvian restaurant in Brussels,” Mr. Tapia said.
Photo credit: Facebook/Adelma Marina Tapia Ruis