American teen who escaped Brussels attacks survived Boston, Paris bombings

Mar 23, 2016, 8:38 PM
This undated photo provided by Chad Wells shows Mormon missionaries Mason Wells, 19, of Sandy, Utah...

This undated photo provided by Chad Wells shows Mormon missionaries Mason Wells, 19, of Sandy, Utah, left, and Joseph Empey, 20, of Santa Clara, Utah. They both were injured in Tuesday's explosion at the Brussels airport. Mormon church officials say missionaries from Utah were seriously injured in the Brussels airport attack. (Joseph Empey/Chad Wells via AP)

(Joseph Empey/Chad Wells via AP)

PHOENIX — One of the Mormon missionaries from Utah who narrowly escaped death in the Brussels attacks has survived multiple terrorist attacks, according to ABC News.

Mason Wells, 19, survived Tuesday’s bombings with a ruptured Achilles tendon, shrapnel injuries and second- and third-degree burns on his face and hands.

For Wells, a Mormon missionary traveling in Brussels to assist other missionaries, the attack was unexpected but not something he hadn’t experienced before: He had also been involved in terrorist attacks in Paris and Boston.

Wells’ father Chad said in an interview with ABC News that his son was just a block away from the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.

“This is the third time that sadly in our society that we have a connection to a bomb blast,” he said. “We live in a dangerous world and not everyone is kind and loving.”

Wells and his family were also in France during last year’s Paris attacks that led to the deaths of at least 129 people and injured 352 more. The main suspect in the attacks was detained by Belgium police on March 18.

In an interview with ABC News, Wells’ mother Kymberly said she gave her son advice on how to be prepared and stay safe in a foreign country.

“Mason has always assured us that he is safe and careful,” she said. “I told him first and foremost always be aware of your surroundings, please be very careful when you’re traveling be very observant to people around you.”

Chad said Mason was at “ground zero” of the Brussels bombings, but is expected to make a full recovery.

“He shared with us that he was extremely close to the blast where he was burned by it,” he said in the interview. “It’s a blessing from God he’s alive.”

The former high school football and lacrosse player had four months left on his two-year Mormon mission, and was planning to major in engineering at the University of Utah next fall. He also wanted to reapply to the Naval Academy after barely missing the cut after high school, Chad said.

Other Mormon missionaries at the Brussels airport were also hospitalized. Richard Norby, 66, of Lehi, and Joseph Empey, 20, of Santa Clara, were with Wells and also hospitalized with serious injuries from the blast.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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American teen who escaped Brussels attacks survived Boston, Paris bombings