Whittier Christian High School volunteers recall experience at Brussels airport during terror attack

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A group of local high school volunteers were at the Brussels airport when explosions in a deadly terror attack went off Tuesday morning. (KABC)

A group of local volunteers were at the Brussels airport when explosions in a deadly terror attack went off Tuesday morning.

The students from Whittier Christian High School and a few from Friends Christian School were on their way to Liberia to help out and do work with Ebola orphans. They had just arrived when the bombs went off.

The students posted a video on YouTube and personal vlog page with an update. Taryne Renee, an alumna of the high school, said the group was being taken care of by the Red Cross at a makeshift shelter in a Belgian warehouse.

"We just feel very lucky that none of us were hurt and were able to get out of there," she said.

After the attacks, Renee immediately texted her parents that she and her brother were OK. Her father told Eyewitness News he got her text even before he know about the bombings.

"I didn't really understand the gravity of it until I turned on the news a little bit later and saw what was actually happening," Rolland Esslinger said. "It was frightening. I mean knowing that my kids were there and the group we send to Liberia...I'm normally with them so I had a lot of different emotions of wanting to be there helping and not knowing what to do and us being so far away."

Renee said the airports have been shut down for some time, but that they will continue with their plans and travel to Liberia.

At least 31 people were killed and 250 injured in the back-to-back bombings of Brussels airport and a subway. ISIS claimed responsibility and its members detonated suicide vests in both locations.

Belgian police are searching for a suspect who was seen on surveillance video at the airport. The photo shows a man walking with a baggage cart through the airport. He was with two other men, identified as brothers Ibrahim El Bakraoui, a suicide bomber at the airport, and Khalid El Bakraoui, who targeted the subway.

Several people who may be linked to the attacks were still on the loose Wednesday morning as the country's threat alert remained at its highest level.
Related Topics:
newsbrussels attacksterror threatterrorismisisexplosionbombingu.s. & worldvolunteerismLa HabraOrange CountyYorba Linda
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