NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - At least two New Yorkers have been confirmed killed in this week's attacks in Brussels, a U.S. official said. Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting the city to express his condolences to the Belgian people.
A family friend of siblings Sascha and Alexander Pinczowski, Dutch nationals who lived in New York, issued a statement on Friday confirming their deaths.
"The Pinczowski family confirms that their children Sascha and Alexander died during the attacks in Brussels," said Fans Van Herteren. "The family would like to express their gratitude for all the compassion and they now need time to grieve."
Belgian authorities and the Dutch Embassy positively identified the remains of Alexander and Sascha. That information was issued by James Cain on behalf of the Pinczowski family. Cain is the father of Alexander's fiancee, Cameron Cain. He said the family is "grateful to have closure on this tragic situation."
Alexander, 29, had traveled to Holland to work on a craft-related business that he and Cameron were going to start together, added Cain. The couple met six years ago while taking summer courses in Durham, North Carolina. They hadn't set a wedding date but had planned to marry within the year. He called Alexander "intimidatingly smart, a brilliant young man."
Sascha, 26, was a 2015 graduate of Marymount Manhattan College in New York with a degree in business. She spent last summer as an intern at a catering company, Shiraz Events. Shiraz Events President Shai Tertner called her "a bright, hardworking young woman, with a great career ahead of her."
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed said he was saddened by their deaths.
"Two young siblings from our city were taken from us far too soon, and our hearts break for the family and friends of Sascha and Alexander New York City has shown time and again that we will not succumb to the threat of terrorism, and we will not live in fear," de Blasio said in a statement. "Today we vow to continue standing up for freedom and democracy in honor of those we have lost."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also issued a statement.
"Their lives were cut short by cowards who have chosen extremism and hate instead of peace and unity," Cuomo said in the statement. "On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend our deepest prayers and condolences to the Pinczowski family, as well as all those who lost loved ones in Tuesday's heartbreaking attacks."
Sascha and Alexander were last heard from at the Brussels Airport before the deadly terrorist bombings in the Belgian capital. Alexander was on the phone with his mother in Holland when the line went dead, the AP reported.
A Facebook post that appeared after the siblings were reported missing and asking for the public's help tracking them down had been removed Friday.
Speaking after meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel on Friday, Kerry said the "United States is praying and grieving with you for the loved ones of those cruelly taken from us, including Americans, and for the many who were injured in these despicable attacks."
With the Associated Press