Wednesday 13 December 2017

New Ross man in airport and metro just hours before Brussels bomb went off

By David Looby

Keith Walsh (foreground, green shirt) at the vigil at Place De La Bourse in Brussels on Tuesday evening, and in a file picture (right).
Keith Walsh (foreground, green shirt) at the vigil at Place De La Bourse in Brussels on Tuesday evening, and in a file picture (right).

A NEW ROSS man flew into Brussels Airport hours before the terrorist attack which claimed up to 50 lives.

Keith Walsh, from Rosbercon, flew into the airport with his girlfriend, Susie Edgeworth on Monday evening last.

Describing himself as a cautious traveller, he said there was a large army and police presence in the airport when they arrived.

'We immediately felt at ease in the airport as everything was being watched; even in the metro, that is why we were shocked by what happened,' he said.

At least 31 people were killed and around 270 injured in the Islamic State bomb attacks at the airport and a metro station on Tuesday morning.

Keith returned home on Saturday morning, having been diverted to Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport as their return flight from Brussels Airport was cancelled.

Keith, who is the son of Anne and Noel Walsh, was on a birthday celebration trip which was a treat from his mother Anne.

Keith, who turned 26 on the Sunday before the attack, said: 'We came over on Monday and we passed through the airport terminal where it happened and we were in the metro afterwards. We were just very fortunate that we weren't in the airport that morning.'

Having spent Monday night in their hostel, Keith and Susie awoke to calls and messages from their families, who were concerned about their safety.

'We were locked into the hostel. When we first heard about it we felt it was almost like you'd expect it after what happened in Paris. I was trying to assure people back home that we were Ok. It was surreal. I can't compare it to anything else. That atmosphere we saw must be like what Syrian refugees experience all the time.'

On Tuesday evening Keith ventured into the city centre with Susie.

'We went up to the main square, the Place de la Bourse, that evening and there was a vigil. There was an Irishman there and he saw me leaving a message of support and he broke down in tears.'

Wexford People

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