Missionary caught in Brussels bombing placed in coma

ST. GEORGE – One of the LDS missionaries from Utah caught up in Monday’s bombings in Brussels, Belgium, has been placed in a medically-induced coma, according to a family statement released through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Tuesday morning.

The families of the two other Utah missionaries, Mason Wells, 19, of Sandy, and Joseph Empey, 20, of Santa Clara, also released statements concerning their condition in the wake of the bombings.

Elder Richard Norby and Sister Pamela Norby, of Lehi, Utah, location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George New
Elder Richard Norby and Sister Pamela Norby, of Lehi, Utah, location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George New

Richard Norby, 66, of Lehi, was put into a medically-induced after a lengthy-surgery according to the statement from his family:

Richard Norby, a missionary serving in the Paris, France mission was injured in the bombing of the Brussels Airport on Wednesday 22 March 2016. He sustained several wounds from the shrapnel, second-degree burns to his head and neck area, along with more severe trauma from shrapnel to his lower leg. After a lengthy surgery, he was placed in a medically-induced coma, and will remain in this state for the next few days, with a lengthy recovery expected. His wife, Pamela Norby, was not at the airport at the time of the attack and is supporting him during this challenging time.

As his family, we wish to express our deep appreciation to his caring and competent medical staff and to all those who have expressed well-wishes and prayers on his behalf. We wish to express our love to the Paris, France mission president, President Babin, his wife, and the fine missionaries. Our prayers go out to all those who were affected by this terrible tragedy and wish for the speedy recovery of all the wounded bystanders.

ElderJpseph Wells, Santa Clara, Utah, location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George New
Elder Joseph Empey, Santa Clara, Utah, location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George New

Court and Amber Empey of Santa Clara, parents of Joseph Empey, also released the following statement concerning their son’s condition:

This has been a difficult day for our family, and our hearts are broken for those injured or killed by the attacks in Belgium. We are grateful our son, Elder Joseph Dresden Empey, is alive and doing well. He has been treated for second-degree burns to his hands, face, and head, and surgery was just completed for shrapnel injuries to his legs. We have been in touch with him and he is grateful and in good spirits. We have also been in contact with his mission president. We are thankful for the outpouring of love and prayers from throughout the world, and we pray for all those affected by this tragedy.

From Chad and Kymberly Wells of Sandy, parents of Mason Wells:

We are grateful that our son, Elder Mason Wells, survived the attack and is receiving quality medical care. We have spoken to him briefly and he feels blessed that he wasn’t injured more, given his close proximity to the bomb. He has undergone surgery to repair his Achilles tendon, and he’s also been treated for burns and shrapnel injuries. As a family, we feel the power of prayer from those we know and those who only heard Mason’s name for the first time today. We will continue to pray and hope for everyone affected by this tragedy.

Elder Mason Wells, of Sandy, Utah, location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George News
Elder Mason Wells, of Sandy, Utah, location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George News

According the Associated Press, it is not the first bombing incident Wells has gone through, having experienced the Boston Marathon bombing three years ago.

Wells found himself near the center of a major attack yet again — this time standing within feet of a bomb that exploded at the airport, according to the Associated Press. The blasts in the Belgian capital killed 34 people and wounded scores at the airport and a subway station.

Three years ago, Wells and his father felt the ground shake from an attack in the U.S., when a pressure-cooker bomb exploded a block away from where they were watching his mother run the Boston Marathon.

“Hopefully he’s run his lifelong odds and we’re done,” said Chad Wells about the oldest of their five children. “I think it will make him a stronger person … Maybe the Boston experience was there to help him get through this experience.”

Sister Fanny Rachel Clain, 20, of Montelimar, France. She is one of four Mormon missionaries injured in the bombings in Brussels, Belgium | Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George News
Sister Fanny Rachel Clain, 20, of Montelimar, France. She is one of four Mormon missionaries injured in the bombings in Brussels, Belgium | Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George News

The Utah missionaries were at the airport with Fanny Rachel Clain, 20, of Montelimar, France, who was on her way to a missionary assignment in Cleveland. The woman had passed through security to a different part of the airport at the time of the explosion. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said she didn’t make her flight out and was hospitalized with minor injuries.

The church instructed others in the France Paris Mission to stay in their homes, though mission President Frederic J. Babin said the missionaries will continue working in their mission to preach the gospel.

“We, since what happened in Paris last year, we have been working with all the missionaries on safety rules for them to be safe, wherever they are, in Belgium or in France,” Babin said in an official church video.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Email: hreina@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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