Family confirms 2 siblings with ties to New York died in Brussels attacks

Stacey Sager Image
Friday, March 25, 2016
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Jim Dolan has more details.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Two people with ties to New York have been confirmed dead by a family spokesman following the Tuesday terror attacks in Brussels.

Siblings Sascha and Alexander Pinczowski, who were Dutch citizens, were in the Brussels airport at the time of the attack.

On Friday morning, Jim Cain, whose daughter was engaged to Alexander Pinczowski, issued a statement on behalf of the Pinczowski family. "We received confirmation this morning from Belgian Authorities and the Dutch Embassy of the positive identification of the remains of Alexander and Sascha. We are grateful to have closure on this tragic situation, and are thankful for the thoughts and prayers from all. The Family is in the process of making arrangements."

The Netherlands' foreign minister said three Dutch citizens were killed in the bombing at Brussels airport, but did not identify them.

The family released a statement Thursday that their names were not on the list of missing. "The Belgian Authorities tonight provided, to the families gathered at Astrid Hospital in Brussels, a list of the names of all remaining victims of the tragedy of March 22 who remain alive. Sadly, our beloved Alexander and Sascha were not among them. The family would like to thank the Dutch Embassy and Delta Airlines for all of their support in our search in Brussels. We especially thank all of our friends and family, across two continents, for their expressions of love, support and prayers for Sascha and Alex. We ask for continued prayers and privacy during this time of grieving as we await final closure."

Cain spoke fondly of the 29-year-old man who was engaged to his daughter Cameron. "Brilliant young man, clever, intimidatingly smart," he said.

He was at a ticket counter inside the airport in Brussels when Tuesday's terrorist attacks took place. He and his younger sister were about to depart for New York City, and were on the phone with their mother, Mariaan, in the Netherlands when the connection died.

"Mariaan said the phone sounded like it went under water, so that's the last contact anyone had with Alex or Sascha," Cain said.

Wednesday night, the Cain family traveled from New York to Brussels.

Both Alex and Sascha Pinczowski planned to settle in New York City. Sascha, graduated from Marymount Manhattan College on the Upper East Side last May with a degree in business. She was looking to move back to the U.S. from Europe, and figured she'd join her brother on his trip.

"Sascha apparently said, 'by golly, if Alex is going to New York, I'm coming, too,'" Cain said.

She recently interned at Shiraz Events in Manhattan. The company Wednesday told Eyewitness News, "Sascha is a bright, hardworking young woman with great energy and a joy to have around, and that she has a great career and life ahead of her."

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio posted a message about the siblings Friday morning:

And in another sad twist, Cain is a former U.S. ambassador to Denmark who dealt with terror threats a decade ago, during the crisis over a cartoon of the prophet Muhammed.

"You live through those scenarios, you think about those, but you can never imagine that something like this would happen to your own daughter, your own family, and it's horrible beyond imagination," Cain said.

Most of the Pinczowski family is in Greece and the Netherlands.