A Peruvian woman who was on her way to New Jersey with her family from Brussels for her sister's wedding was among the 11 people killed in the blast at the airport, grieving family friends in Passaic say.
Adelma Tapia Ruiz, who lived in Brussels, was checking in for her flight to the New York City area with her family on Tuesday morning, family friends say. Her twin daughters ran off to play, and her husband followed.
Then the blasts ripped through the airport.
Ruiz was killed. One of her daughters was hit by shrapnel, and Ruiz's husband was also hurt.
The family had been on their way to northern New Jersey for her sister's bridal shower and wedding.
"She was supposed to be the chef and cook for her sister [at the shower], to do all that stuff. It's horrible," said family friend Martha Sisco at a memorial mass inside a small Passaic church Wednesday.
"The family right now, they are in breakdown," said Sisco. "The mother, they had to take her to the hospital yesterday."
"We are about to celebrate, somebody called and told us this, everyone's in shock," said family friend Liliana Delgado.
Ruiz hadn't seen her family in New Jersey in several years, and what was supposed to be a happy reunion has turned into funeral arrangements, family friends said.
Family members have not disclosed funeral plans, and it's not clear if the wedding will go on as scheduled after the tragedy.
Other people with ties to the tri-state narrowly escaped injury in the airport blasts: Jason Jacques of the Upper East Side was on his way back with a friend from Brooklyn and recalled "people were running, blood was flying, ceilings were collapse, smoke was billowing everywhere."
Ashley Bruggemann of New Jersey had just passed through the departure hall in the airport, where the explosions happened, when she suddenly saw people running toward her.
The attacks at the airport and at a train station in Brussels killed 31 people and injured more than 200 others. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks, and Belgium remained on high alert Wednesday, the first of three days of mourning for the victims of the attacks. as authorities hunted for one of the suspected attackers seen on surveillance video. Two others blew themselves up, authorities said.