Brussels attacks: Yana Toom at the airport, Paet in locked-down EU parliament building (1)
Estonian MEPs Yana Toom and Urmas Paet are in Brussels and have told ERR about the situation they're seeing around them. Toom was at the airport, but wasn't hurt. Paet said the parliament building was locked, but that work continued.
Estonian MEP Yana Toom (Center/ALDE) was at Brussel’s Zaventem airport at the time of the explosions. Toom said to ERR’s radio news on Tuesday that the people in the terminal she was in managed to keep their calm.
ERR: How far away from the explosions were you?
I thought it was on the ground floor, where the check-in is. But I’m not absolutely sure. It felt like it was 30-50 m away, somewhere by the door.
What was your first thought?
It was immediately clear that it was a bomb. The first thing I did was look for a security guard, and then followed their signals.
What happened then?
Then everybody ran to where the tax-free shops are. There we were directed to two terminals, terminals A and B. There we waited for about an hour. From there all those with luggage that hadn’t been checked were directed out onto the tarmac. They took my luggage away, I’ve got my purse and my phone. The people are very calm, everybody’s keeping their dignity.
What are you going to do next, what are your hopes to make it to Tallinn?
No idea. Nobody’s asking that either, there’s no point trying to chase anybody. People are calling their families to tell them that they’re alright, that’s also what I did during the first half hour.
MEP Urmas Paet (Reform/ALDE) said that the situation in Brussels was very hectic, as nobody knew where the next attack could take place. He said that the entrance to the parliament building had been closed, but that they were working.
“The entrance is closed. Nothing else is being done right now,” Paet told ERR’s online news.
He said he was in a session of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, that it had opened with a minute of silence for the victims, and that at the beginning they had only known about the explosions at the airport, not the attack on the metro.
“There have been explosions at metro stations nearby, apparently also at the main station. The metro is closed,” Paet said.
Currently there was news about explosions in the Maalbek and Schumann metro stations, he said. He added that he had seen police cars on the way to work, but couldn’t answer ERR’s question about an increased police presence or armed forces in the city.