Among the throngs of passengers at the Belgian airport on Tuesday was a former St. Mary’s College basketball player, who now plays for the Antwerp Giants.
Brad Waldow, a 24-year-old center for the team, and who attended the private college in Moraga, California, was headed to Italy to play a Europe Cup quarterfinal game when he and his teammates heard the explosions inside the Zaventem airport in Brussels.
Fortunately, neither he nor his peers were hurt, though no one was able to board the flight.
“Thank you God for keeping me safe during these attacks in Belgium,” the Sacramento native tweeted on Tuesday. “Missed the explosions by minutes.” He showed a picture of a long line of people outside the Brussels airport.
Waldow told The Associated Press he sensed a bad atmosphere while they were waiting in line to buy food, and persuaded his teammate, Kwame Vaughn, a 25-year-old Cal State Fullerton alumni, they should move on through a security check. The decision meant the two men moved further away from the scene of the subsequent blast.
"I said to him, 'Something just seems off here, the vibe. It doesn't seem right,'" Waldow said in a telephone interview from Antwerp. "I ended up convincing him, 'Hey, let's go.'"
Waldow said he and Vaughn were "a couple of hundred feet" from one of the explosions. They joined crowds running through the airport terminal as some people fell and were trampled on as if in a "a post-apocalyptic movie," he said.
The team was reunited within an hour after people were taken by bus to a nearby sports arena.
The team traveled from Paris on Wednesday for a rescheduled match against Varese one day later.