It’s a nightmare hard to fathom.
Former New York investment banker Matthew Linsey, 61, has spoken out in grief about the painful split-second decision he was forced to make on Sunday after a suicide bomber tore through the breakfast buffet in the Shangri-La Hotel in Sri Lanka’s capital city, Colombo.
“My son looked worse than my daughter, I tried to revive him,” Linsey, who survived the attack with facial lacerations, told the Times of London. “People were screaming. I was with my children. I couldn’t tell whether they were all right, it was dark. I was worried there would be another blast.”
His children Amelie, 15, and Daniel, 19 – dual citizens of the U.S. and the U.K. – were both severely wounded by shrapnel in the blast. Amid the chaos, Linsey recalled how he had to leave his daughter behind in the wreckage, believing that she had a better chance of survival, as another survivor pledged she would take her to the hospital.
He carried his son’s lifeless body downstairs to a waiting ambulance, but doctor’s efforts to revive him failed and he later learned that Amelie also did not make it.
“Amelie was really fun. She was smart, beautiful. Very loving, very caring, understanding. She cared about her family and her friends. And the same with Danny,” the former Chase Bank vice president said. “They loved traveling abroad. That’s a very important part of who they were.”
Linsey, with the help of the U.S. Embassy, was able to travel back to the U.K that day and now is left to pick up the pieces of life alongside his wife and two other sons while attempting to repatriate the bodies of his son and daughter.
Amelie and Daniel were two of four U.S. citizens killed in the coordinated Easter terrorist attack, which claimed the lives of more than 300 people and severely wounded some 500 churchgoers and hotel guests from all corners of the globe.