“My brother told me what happened. My mother couldn’t speak. He said they were gone,” David Linsey said of his brother Daniel and sister Amelie
April 26, 2019 09:16 PM
The sibling of two teenagers, whose American dad was forced to choose which one of them to save in Sri Lanka’s Easter bombings, is speaking out about the haunting moment he learned of their deaths.
“I was woken by screaming — chaos,” David Linsey told the
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“My bedroom is in the basement. I went upstairs. My little brother Ethan and my mother were hysterical with grief. My brother told me what happened. My mother couldn’t speak. He said they were gone,” David said to the outlet.
Matthew, 61, and his two children were on vacation, enjoying the breakfast buffet in the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo when the attacks began, according to
“I called my father,” David recalled to the
David — who is both a dual citizen of the U.S. and U.K. like his late siblings — explained to the
“He told us exactly what had happened and kept saying how sorry he was. It wasn’t his fault but he felt he could have done things differently. They were only going for breakfast,” David said.
David admitted he too struggled to come to terms with the death of his siblings and wanted to “confirm it” on his own.
“My 11-year-old brother and mother were in hysterics. I wanted to establish what had happened,” David told the
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“I spoke to a guy who confirmed it. It still doesn’t sink in. It still hasn’t really. Maybe it’s beginning to for me but not for my mother,” David explained.
“Amelie was always there for all of us,” David’s mother Angelina said to
“Ethan would go and talk to her about his day at school if he was worried about anything,” Angelina said of her 11-year-old son and Amelie.
“My children are my best friends. We do everything together,” Angelina said.
Angelina went on to share that Matthew wanted to take Amelie and Daniel to Sri Lanka because “Danny was starting university.”
“Matt wanted to spend that extra time with him before he started,” Angelina explained to the
Angelina, David and Ethan stayed back in London because Ethan wanted to celebrate Easter at home.
Although they were apart, Angelina said she spoke with her family every day of their trip.
“I FaceTimed them every day. They were going to markets and doing cooker classes. They went to an elephant sanctuary. They went to a tea plantation and there was a lot of shopping because Amelie loved clothes,” Angelina shared with the
Matthew, a former New York investment banker, previously opened up about the bombing and the painful decision he had to make.
“You can’t describe how bad it was. People were screaming. I was with my children. I couldn’t tell whether they were all right, it was dark,” Linsey told
Injured himself, Linsey said he did his best to sift through the rubble to get to his kids. “I couldn’t move them, they were both knocked out,” Linsey said to
“My son looked worse than my daughter. I tried to revive him,” Linsey told the outlet.
“A lady said she’d take my daughter. I carried my son downstairs to an ambulance, we took him to the hospital. I yelled, ‘Please help my son! Please help! Please help!’” Linsey said.
“I thought my daughter was better off. I couldn’t find her because I was with my son. They sadly passed away,” Linsey revealed to
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Amelie and Daniel are two of the four confirmed American deaths, according to
Daniel was a student at Westminster Kingsway College and was deciding between attending university at Manchester or Leicester, according to
His daughter Amelie was studying at Godolphin and Latymer School in Hammersmith.
“[She] was beautiful inside and out,” Linsey told the outlet.
After the bombing, Linsey traveled back to his home in London, with the help of the US embassy.
At this time, Linsey is trying to get the remains of his children home, according to
The Linseys are also setting up a foundation to help fund medical equipment for the hospital in Sri Lanka where his children were taken, according to the
“My dad suggested calling it ‘Love Is The Answer’ after his and my sister’s favorite song,’” David told the
Throughout it all, David said his father has remained “remarkably strong.”
“I think he’s doing as well as one can in these circumstances. His bond with my siblings was so close,” David said of Matthew to the
“My dad has survivor’s guilt 100 percent. The rest of us to a lesser extent but really my dad because he was right behind them,” David explained.
Six blasts went off simultaneously on April 21, targeting Easter mass attendees at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, the St. Sebastian Catholic Church in nearby Negombo, and the Protestant Zion church in the town of Batticaloa, as well as three luxury hotels, according to CBS News.
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The Shangri-La said in a statement on Facebook that the explosion went off in its Table One Restaurant around 9 a.m.
“We are deeply saddened and shocked by the incident and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the casualties and those who have been affected,” the statement read. “We are working closely with local authorities and emergency services to provide our fullest assistance and support to the affected staff and guests.”
More than 320 people were killed and 500 injured in the string of attacks, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said, according to
The Associated Press reported that a Sri Lankan government official said the bombers were part of a domestic militant group named National Thowfeed Jamaath.
CBS News reports that at least 40 suspects, all Sri Lankan nationals, have been taken into custody for questioning.