Tampa man narrowly escapes Brussels blasts

- A Tampa attorney says he was within minutes of being killed in the Brussels bomb attacks.

"I had absolutely no idea anything happened," said John Ovink, who practices immigration law.

Ovink had been in Holland for a week visiting family. He took off from the Brussels airport minutes before 34 people were killed in attacks at the airport and a train station.

Ovink had been waiting at an airport Starbucks, outside security for several hours before checking in. 

As he would learn upon landing in Sanford Tuesday evening, the Starbucks is where terrorists set off one of their bombs.

"It's slowly sinking in," he said. "But for the good grace of three hours, that would have been me."

While safely on the plane, flying toward home, his phone had been flooded with dozens of messages from family and friends.

Now Ovink says he wonders why he was spared. 

"My mom said, (when she passed away), 'I will keep looking after you,' and maybe she is doing that. I don't know. I can't explain it. (Maybe I am ) lucky?" Ovink explained.

He added, the bomb attacks will not intimidate him from flying again.

"If we give in, if we are afraid, if we give in to our fear, they win," he said. "I am going to keep flying. I am going to keep traveling. I am not going to change my life."

Meanwhile, the 15 Starbucks locations in Brussels have been closed until further notice.

Up Next:

Up Next

  • Tampa man narrowly escapes Brussels blasts
  • Florida schools can cut back year by 2 days due to storm
  • Irma causes erosion on Pinellas Co. beaches
  • Sarasota teen not heard from since before Irma
  • Former counselor takes gamble on child porn plea deal
  • Train hits homeless man on railroad tracks in Lakeland
  • Friends united by tragedy remeber 9/11 16 years later
  • Shelter opened for Withlacoochee River evacuees
  • Construction begins for USF Health facilities in downtown Tampa
  • Out-of-town linemen receive send-off in Lakeland