Former Saint Mary’s College Gaels’ Brad Waldow. . (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group File)
Former Saint Mary's College Gaels' Brad Waldow. . (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group File)

Former Saint Mary's College basketball player Brad Waldow, who was at the Brussels airport Tuesday morning when two bombs killed at least 34 people, said he won't quickly recover from the experience.

"You never feel that kind of fear and pandemonium rush through your body like I did," Waldow said.

Waldow, 24, plays professionally for the Port of Antwerp Giants. He and his teammates were at Zaventem Airport, awaiting a flight to Milan, Italy, for the FIBA Euro Cup tournament.

"The only thing I could really say is it was truly surreal," Waldow said. "You hear about this happening all the time ... happening in the Middle East, happening overseas.

"It's a sickening feeling. It's terrifying, knowing that people in charge of this looked like you and I. Random people at the airport."

Waldow said he and a teammate separated from the rest of the squad and were looking for something to eat before their Tuesday morning flight.

"He wanted to go get some food, and I just told him I have a bad vibe about this," Waldow said. The line for food was long, so they walked to another location to find a snack.

Suddenly, he heard someone call out that there were guns, and someone else reported two explosions, which he did not hear.

"That's when everyone started sprinting," Waldow recalled. "I was thinking, 'What's going on?' People were screaming, people were shoving people out of the way, people were getting trampled."


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While running away from the scene, Waldow called his mother to tell her he was safe.

Waldow finally met up with his teammates -- all of them unharmed -- about 40 minutes later but everyone was kept at the airport for hours. Finally, they were escorted out, and the team traveled by bus to Paris, where it was scheduled to fly Wednesday morning to Italy.

Hours later, talking on the phone, Waldow said he still was shaken by the event.

"I don't feel it's truly set in," he said. "It's terrifying. It really is."