Three Mormon missionaries from Utah were seriously injured in the Tuesday explosion at the Brussels Airport

By Lindsay Kimble
March 22, 2016 10:55 AM
Zuma Press

brightcove.createExperiences(); Three Mormon missionaries from Utah were among those seriously injured in the Tuesday terror attack on the Brussels Zaventem Airport’s Departures Hall, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints confirmed.

Elder Richard Norby, 66, Elder Joseph Empey, 20, and Elder Mason Wells, 19, were all at the airport on Tuesday morning when two bombs exploded. All three – who serve in the Church’s Paris, France, mission – were in the proximity of the explosion, and have been hospitalized. At least eleven others were killed by the blast.

Richard Norby
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Empey’s grandfather, who is also named Joseph, tells PEOPLE, “He’s in the hospital and they’re going to have to operate on his leg and ankle. He is able to walk and he is in good spirits. He has burns on his face but it doesn’t look like it’s too serious. They don’t have to do skin grafts or anything.”

Joseph Empey
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

He described his grandson as a fun-loving twenty-year-old boy. We re so happy he’s going to be okay.”

The men were accompanying a female missionary, Sister Fanny Rachel Clain, 20, of France, who was flying to an assignment in Ohio. She had already passed through airport security and was uninjured, according to the Church.

Mason Wells in Brussels
Kymberly Wells

“With much of the world, we awoke this morning to the heartbreaking news of the bombings in Belgium,” the First Presidency of the Church said in a statement. “Our prayers are with the families of the deceased and injured, including three of our missionaries who were injured and hospitalized. We also pray for the people of Belgium and France as they continue to deal with the uncertainty and devastation caused by the recent terrorist attacks.”

An explosion also occurred at the Maalbeek Metro Station early on Tuesday, killing at least 20. Over 187 were injured during the rush-hour attacks. The country’s terror alert has been raised to its highest level, and both the airport and city metro system have been shut down.

Of the attacks, President Obama said during a speech from Cuba, “We can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all over the world.”