A TEENAGER wounded during the Brussels attacks may be the luckiest unlucky man in the world, having also narrowly escaped harm at the Boston bombings and in the November terror in Paris.
Mason Wells, a 19-year-old from Utah, was hospitalised with serious injuries along with his fellow Mormon missionaries Richard Norby, 66, and Joseph Empey, 20.
He had moved to Belgium after serving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Paris, and was in France when the terror attacks rocked the city in November.
The teenager, who suffered second- and third-degree burns to his hand and head and ruptured his Achilles tendon at Brussels Airport, was also a block away from the finish line of the Boston marathon when bombs exploded in 2013. He had been watching his mother compete in the race.
Incredibly, Mason said today that he felt lucky, because he had been so close to so many terrorist attacks and survived.
“He said he wanted us to know he was blessed because he was right next to the bomb,” his mother Kymberly Wells told Utah Valley 360. “He sounded tired.”
The brave teen reassured his mother that his injuries “weren’t too bad”, despite having been right beside one of the devastating blasts at the Belgian airport, part of a string of attacks that killed 34 and injured 250 in the capital city.
His father, Chad Wells, said Mason had undergone foot surgery to repair his Achilles. He had “also been treated for burns and shrapnel injuries,” his parents said in a statement released through the church.
“We have spoken to him briefly and he feels blessed that he wasn’t injured more given his close proximity to the bomb,” the Wells family added. “We are grateful our son … survived the attack and is receiving quality medical care.”
Mr Wells said his son had been serving as a missionary in Brussels and had plans to apply to the Naval Academy when he returned in the next few months. At least for now, those plans were on hold.
“He loved Brussels. He loved the people. This was a lifelong dream as a member of the church. This is just a horrific tragedy.”
Mason’s father, who was also present at the Boston bombings, added: “I’ve about had it with these terrorist attacks.”
“This is his third terrorist attack,” Chad Wells told ABC News, explaining his son was also in Paris, but in a different part of the city, when the November attak took place.
“This is the third time that sadly in our society that we have a connection to a bomb blast,” he said. “We live in a dangerous world and not everyone is kind and loving.”
The three Mormons had been escorting a fourth missionary, Sister Fanny Rachel Clain of Montelimar, France, to the airport to catch a flight to Ohio. She had already passed through airport security, but didn’t make her flight and was hospitalised with injuries.
Mason was due to return from his mission in spring to start at the University of Utah, where he plans to major in engineering. “He’s doing extremely well,” said family friend Chris Lambson. “His biggest concern right now is about housing at U of U.”
Utah Governor Gary Herbert praised the three Mormons as “people of faith who have forsaken everything — family, friends, school and careers — in order to share a message of hope and love with the world.”
As many as two-thirds of the state’s population are members of the church.
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