Lowcountry ties to Brussels terror attacks; News 2 speaks with families affected

MONCKS CORNER, SC - The young woman, named Mathilde, is a junior at Clemson studying economics; and she was just a few miles from where the attacks happened.

"I'm scared. After the Paris attack, I asked my university, Clemson, should I come back? What should I be doing? And they said, 'Listen, you have all the help here, from Clemson, and from your university. People are going to take care of you.'"

Mathilde told News 2, "When I saw those images on the TV, I knew where it was and I was just heartbroken to see what had happened and it was terrifying to see. I know I've been there and thankfully I wasn't there today."

Mathildhe says after the attacks Tuesday morning, friends and family from the Lowcountry started reaching out on Facebook to make sure she was alright.

"So I 'checked in' and then I wrote, 'Hey everyone, I'm fine!' But I did have a lot of Facebook messages…as my parents woke up I told him right away that I was fine."

The attacks were equally as frightening for some families here in the Lowcountry.

William and Allison Brown of Moncks Corner were the host family for an exchange student from Brussels. This young woman, also named Mathilde, stayed with the brown family a few years ago while she attended Stratford High.

Allison Brown explained, "If anything ever happened to her, we would be devastated. It's like having a daughter living abroad constantly, so anytime this is in the news, we're concerned… She's like our daughter."

This morning, after waiting and wondering if she was okay, the Brown family finally got in contact with Mathilde through Facebook.

"She is okay! She and her family are all okay. We were kind of waiting all day long waiting to see if she would check in on Facebook and finally everybody is checked in and everybody is doing ok," explained William Brown.

As in similar attacks and natural disasters, Facebook's Safety Check prompts people in that region to mark themselves as "safe."

In addition to themselves, people can declare other friends "safe," "unsafe," or "not in the area." '

Safety statuses appear as a notification on their friends' Facebook accounts and news feeds.

Its a great new feature for some not so great and scary situations.


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