By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
A BAHAMIAN student studying in Brussels, Belgium took cover in an attempt to find safety in her dorm room after authorities blew up a package in a “controlled explosion” at the university she attends in that devastated city.
Sloan Smith, 23, told The Tribune that there was a threat at Vrije Universiteit Brussels, as suicide bombs were detonated at the airport just outside of Brussels and at three metro stations on Tuesday.
It led to 31 deaths and some 270 injured persons.
Ms Smith, who is in the university’s communications and new media society master’s degree programme, recalled that feelings of fear and confusion hovered over the town as people tuned into news outlets to get an idea of the magnitude of the incident.
She said students who were still on campus were unable to leave as public transportation was out of service preventing students from getting to their homes.
“When the attacks first began around 8am that morning I was still at home in my dorm which is located on campus, which is far from the first attack that happened at the airport just outside of Brussels,” she said.
“I didn’t hear the explosions (as) I was still very much asleep when the first three attacks occurred. However there was a bomb that went off on campus about three minutes walk from my place.”
She added: “I was naturally shocked and my first instinct was to hit the floor and take cover. We soon after found out through the university’s updates that the noise we heard was a controlled explosion.
“There was a threat on the campus. I was informed by the Belgian Consulate for the Bahamas that there was a suspicious package seen across the street from one of the buildings. They could not identify what it was and they blew it up for safety.”
For now, Ms Smith, who worked at a local daily before taking up her studies in Europe, is safe and out of harms way in Antwerp, another city in Belgium.
She said she was told that things are starting to return to normal, even as Brussels remains on level four threat.