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'I had the perfect family': Victims of the Sri Lanka blasts

'I had the perfect family': Victims of the Sri Lanka blasts

More than 350 people are now known to have died in a horrifying series of attacks that ripped through Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.

COLOMBO: More than 350 people are now known to have died in a horrifying series of attacks that ripped through Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday (Apr 21).

While the majority of victims were Sri Lankans attending church on the Christian holy day, there were also a number of foreign tourists killed, many visiting during the Easter holiday period.

Near-simultaneous blasts tore through three high-end hotels popular with foreigners, and three churches packed with worshippers.

The government has said the bombers may have been acting in revenge for shootings at two mosques in New Zealand last month which left 50 dead. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Here is what we know so far about some of those killed in the blasts.

Sri Lankan celebrity chef Shantha Mayadunne was pictured having breakfast in the Shangri-La hotel just minutes before a bomb tore apart the hotel's restaurant. Her daughter Nisanga posted the picture on Facebook shortly before the blast on Sunday with the caption "Easter breakfast with the family".

A family member posted a tribute on Facebook saying Shantha and her daughter were both killed.

"No words can describe the pain. They were the most loving family anyone could ask for and I will always be grateful for having them in my life," wrote Manik Mayadunne.

Shantha was considered one of Sri Lanka's most popular television chefs and was the author of several books.

Zayan Chowdhury, the 8-year-old grandson of Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, the leader of Bangladesh's ruling party Awami League, was killed in the blasts.

Bangladeshis offer a funeral prayer for Awami League leader's grandson, Zayan Chowdhury, in Dhaka. (Photo: AFP)

His body was subsequently flown to Dhaka, where he was buried.

Anita Nicholson, 42, a Singapore-based lawyer for mining company Anglo-American, died alongside her 14-year-old son Alex and 11-year-old daughter Annabel in the Shangri-La hotel blast.

Anita Nicholson poses for a picture with her family. (Photo: Facebook/Anita Nicholson)

Her husband Ben Nicholson was the only family member to survive the attack.

"Mercifully, all three of them died instantly and with no pain or suffering," he said in a statement released by the UK Foreign Office.

"I am deeply distressed at the loss of my wife and children. Anita was a wonderful, perfect wife and a brilliant, loving and inspirational mother to our two wonderful children."

At least eight British citizens are among the dead, according to the British foreign office.

Anusha Kumari, 43, was struck in the face by shrapnel from the blast at St Sebastian's Church in Negombo. Her husband, Dulip Appuhami, her two children, Dulakghi and Vimukthi, her sister-in-law, and two nieces died.

Anusha Kumari holds portraits of her daughter Sajini Venura Dulakshi and son Vimukthi Tharidu Appuhami. (Photo: AP)

"You won't believe it, but I had the perfect family," Kumari told the Associated Press (AP) news agency. 

"In 24 years of marriage, my husband and I never argued. All four of us slept in the same room. Now, I have lost everything."

Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen lost three of his four children in the Easter day attacks. Povlsen, his wife Anne and their four children were in Sri Lanka on vacation at the moment of the attacks.

Considered to be Denmark's richest man, 46-year-old Holch Povlsen is the main shareholder in the online fashion retailer ASOS as well as the owner of clothing group Bestseller.

Sri Lankan-born Manik Suriaaratchi and her 10-year-old daughter Alexandria, who was born in Melbourne, were killed in the attack on St Sebastian's Church, where they were reportedly regular attendees.

Manik's husband, Sudesh Kolonne, was outside when the blast occurred and survived. Manik was a senior executive at marketing company Omega Global. The family had returned to Sri Lanka several years ago from Australia to take care of Manik's mother.

US national Dieter Kowalski, who worked for British educational and publishing company Pearson, died soon after arriving in Colombo on a work trip.

Dieter Kowalski was killed at the Shangri-La hotel on Apr 21, 2019. (Photo: Dieter Kowalski)

He had planned to spend a week in the city to work on technical issues with local engineers, with whom he had become "good friends" after a previous visit, according to Pearson CEO John Fallon.

"Colleagues who knew Dieter well talk about how much fun he was to be around, how big-hearted and full-spirited he was," Fallon wrote.

Dhulodh Anthony, 7, was killed in the blast at St Sebastian. He was buried at the Methodist cemetery in Negombo, Sri Lanka on Apr 23.

Nilanga Anthony (centre) mourns the death of his seven-year-old nephew Dhulodh Anthony. (Photo: AP)

Two parents and their three children were killed in the St Sebastian's Church blast. Rangana Fernando, his wife Danadiri and their children - their daughters aged six and four and their eleven-month-old son - were attending the Easter service at the church.

Danadiri's brother told the BBC their funerals were held on Monday and that they "are now in a better place".

Eleven-year-old Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa was killed at the breakfast buffet of a hotel in the Sri Lankan capital while on holiday with his mother, who suffered minor injuries in the blast.

Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa was killed at the breakfast buffet of a hotel in the Sri Lankan capital while on holiday with his mother, Dhulsini de Zoysa. (Photo: Instagram/Dhulsini de Zoysa)

Shafritz de Zoysa was to spend the summer travelling before returning to his studies at the prestigious Sidwell Friends School in Washington, his father Alex Arrow told ABC News.

"We should know what the world lost, what they took from the world," Arrow said. "A brilliant mind who ... won't make it to his 12th birthday."

London teenagers Daniel Linsey, 19, and his younger sister Amelie, 15, were also killed at the Shangri-La hotel on the final day of their holiday, according to media reports quoting relatives.

Amelie Linsey (left) and Daniel Linsey (right) were killed at the Shangri-La hotel on Apr 21. (Photo: Matthew Linsey)

Their father Matthew Linsey survived and described to the Times desperately trying to revive his unconscious son in the aftermath of the attack.

"You can't describe how bad it was," he told the newspaper. "People were screaming. I was with my children. I couldn't tell whether they were all right, it was dark."

Berlington Joseph Gomez, 33, and his wife, Chandrika Arumugam, 31, were killed in a blast at St Anthony's Shrine, along with their three sons - 9-year-old Bevon, 6-year-old Clavon and Avon, who was 11 months old.

Berlington's father Joseph Gomez told AP: "All family, all generation, is lost." 

Joseph Gomez lost his son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. (Photo: AP)

Retired Manchester firefighter Billy Harrop and his wife Sally Bradley, a clinical services director, both died in the Cinnamon Grand Hotel bombing.

Retired Manchester firefighter Billy Harrop and his wife Sally Bradley were killed at the Shangri-La hotel on Apr 21, 2019. (Photo: Facebook/Sally Harrop)

The couple had lived in Australia since 2013 but were due to return to Britain after buying a retirement home in the Cotswolds, Britain's ITV news reported.

"He was a much loved and respected colleague and friend," assistant county fire officer Dave Keelan said of Harrop, speaking to Britain's Sky News. "He will be greatly missed."

British IT director Lorraine Campbell, 55, also died in the Cinnamon Grand Hotel bombing soon after arriving in Sri Lanka on a business trip.

British IT director Lorraine Campbell was killed at the Shangri-La hotel on Apr 21, 2019. (Photo: Contactout/Lorraine Campbell)

She had been anxious to travel out of fears she could contract dengue fever, her son Mark told the Daily Mail, adding that he had reassured her she would be safe.

"I've lost my best friend in the world for all the adventures we shared and planned for the future," husband Neil Evans said in a family statement.

Portuguese national Rui Lucas, 31, was killed at the Kingsbury Hotel while on honeymoon with his wife, who escaped the blast uninjured.

The amateur footballer and electrical engineer's family was "in shock", his brother Hugo Lucas told Cofina Media.

His wife returned to Portugal on Monday, Cofina reported.

Four Sri Lankan staff members at the Cinnamon Grand hotel died in the attacks, with the hotel spokesman telling the BBC it was "one of our busiest periods."

They have been identified only as Shantha, Sanjeewani, Ibrahim and Nisthar. 

The Shangri-La Colombo announced in a statement on its Facebook page that three of its staff members had been killed in the attacks, but didn't give any more details.

On Apr 25, the Sri Lankan government revised the death toll to 253.

Source: CNA/agencies/ic(rw)


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