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First Brussels suicide bombing victim, now a Paralympian, testifies

WION logo WION 07-03-2023 Anamica Singh
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A victim of the 2016 Brussels suicide bombing testified on Monday during the trial of those accused of plotting or aiding the attacks. The teenage girl, who lost both her legs, overcame her disability to become a Paralympian. French-American equestrian Beatrice Lasnier de Lavalette survived a coma and stayed months in intensive care. The 24-year-old underwent 30 operations and skin transplants on her legs, hands, and shoulders.

Beatrice was 17 at the time of the attacks and was about to board a flight to visit her family when the double suicide attack ripped through the departure hall of the airport.

"I don't remember the explosion itself, I remember the darkness and being bumped off the ground," Lasnier de Lavalette told the court. Her leg was twisted at a right angle at the time.

"After seeing my leg I realised what had happened. I was 17 and my life was over."

The airport blast killed 16 people and an hour later Brussels metro was also hit by another bomb. Over 300 people were injured in the attack that was claimed by the jihadists of the Islamic State group.

She has sustained serious burns all over her body and thought she won't be attended to by the rescuers since they were focused on treating the other injured victims who were more likely to survive.

"I was labelled red, they didn't think I'd survive," she sobbed.

Lasnier de Lavalette was taken to the hospital in an unconscious state. "I kept saying I just want to go to sleep, somebody told me you cannot sleep. After that, it was just darkness and I lost consciousness. The next memory I have is waking up after a month-long coma at the hospital."

She loved and rode horses as a child and wanted to become a professional equestrian. She fought all odds to become an athlete and in 2021, she represented the United States in the dressage event at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

(With inputs from agencies)



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