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    People leave the scene of explosions at Zaventem airport near Brussels, Belgium, March 22, 2016

    Brussels Airport Passengers Stayed Calm in Face of Terror – Eyewitness

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    After an initial panic, the atmosphere at Brussels' Zaventem airport following Tuesday's bomb attacks quickly calmed because passengers were aware of the possibility of terrorist attacks, eyewitness Laurent Giaccio told Sputnik.

    Passengers at Zaventem airport were shocked but calm after initial panic that followed two bomb explosions which killed 13 people and injured at least 81 on Tuesday, eyewitness Laurent Giaccio told Radio Sputnik. 

    ​"I was about 300 meters away from where it happened, I heard a loud noise and then a few seconds later there was a massive crowd of people running in my direction."

    "I was past the security checkpoint; the security checkpoint is about 100 meters away from where the second blast happened, at Starbucks Coffee."

    "A few seconds after that you could hear a lady on the loudspeaker calling for the full evacuation of the airport."

    Giaccio said that passengers took just a few minutes to compose themselves after the attack, which he attributed to people getting used to the threat of terrorism.

    "We could hear the noise, so we thought it was an explosion and as we didn't hear any more explosions after that; we could probably guess that there were no people shooting with Kalashnikovs or things like that."

    "People were very calm, just a few minutes after that the calm came back. The evacuation went pretty smoothly, I have to say." 

    "Of course the first reaction is panic and you could see it on the faces of people screaming and running, running in the wrong direction, I have to say."

    Giaccio said that the recent arrest of Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in the Paris attacks, and a warning from Belgium's Prime Minister that the country was at risk of attack meant that the possibility of a terrorist attack was already on the minds of passengers.

    "I'm guessing we're not surprised, we see it every day on the TV, and every day we are getting more used to how to react."

    "Since 2001 every time I see something, I think if something had to happen where should I escape, so I think we are getting used to living in a world where these kinds of things actually can happen."

    "I go to this airport about two or three times a month, and every time I pass in front of this Starbucks, it's right in front of this big screen where you see all your flights, etc. I never stop there because I always think, if something is going to happen it will probably be at the entrance just like it happened at a Russian train station a few years ago."

    Giaccio said that security at Brussels' Zaventem airport, which more than 23 million passengers used in 2015, is usually good in comparison to other European airports, though there were no military personnel at the entrance on the day of the attack.

    "In the past weeks we've seen military people at the entrance, which I didn't see today. I saw four of them inside the building but I didn't see them in the entrance controlling people that are getting in."

    "There was less security than four weeks ago maybe, but there is still a lot of security and it's still one of the safest airports in Europe, I don't know about the US."

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    terrorist attack, terrorism, Belgium
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