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U.S. Mormons, military family among injured in Brussels

Last Updated Mar 22, 2016 11:10 PM EDT

SALT LAKE CITY -- Several Americans are among the injured in attacks at an airport and metro station in Brussels on Tuesday.

An Air Force service member officer and his wife and children were injured, but details on their injuries have not been released.

The service member, from Joint Force Command Brunssum, the Netherlands, was wounded at the airport in Brussels, where members of his family who also sustained various injuries were taken away for medical attention. Some were reported in serious condition.

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Wounded basketball player Sebastien Bellin lies on the ground in Zaventem Bruxelles International Airport in Brussels after explosions ripped through the departure hall on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. All flights were canceled, arriving planes were being diverted and Belgium's terror alert level was raised to maximum, officials said.

Ketevan Kardava/ Georgian Public Broadcaster via AP

Just moments before the blast, Mormon missionaries 66-year-old Richard Norby, 20-year-old Joseph Empey and 19-year-old Mason Wells were in the terminal saying goodbye to French missionary, 20-year-old Fanny Rachel Clain, who was headed to Ohio for her assignment.

Wells was rushed into surgery for his wounds, said family spokesman Lloyd Coleman.

"He has some burns to his face and hands but the biggest concern is his foot. It sounds like his ankle and his heel is hurt the worst by some flying debris or shrapnel from the bomb," Coleman said.

Empey suffered a leg wound and second degree burns to his hands, face and head, according to his parents, Court and Amber Empey.

Norby was knocked down during the explosion and may have broken a leg or ankle. He is in charge of the missionary program in which the younger members worked.

Empey had posted photos on his blog yesterday of he and others in suits, smiling and flashing thumbs up. His parents wrote on Facebook that their son was alright.

"We have been in touch with him and he is grateful and in good spirits," his parents said in a statement.

The father of Mason Wells says his son is recovering and doing OK.

Chad Wells says Mason was feet away from Tuesday's blast, suffering severe burns and a severed Achilles tendon.

Chad Wells says he and his son were only a block from the Boston marathon bombing in 2013. They went to watch his wife run the race. None of them was injured, but they felt the ground shake.

The younger Wells also was two hours away from Paris during a series of attacks in the city last November.

Those with family members still missing can only hope for such close calls.

Carolyn Moore from Kentucky was with her daughter, Stephanie, when the bombs exploded at the airport. Stephanie is now missing.

"My husband called the American embassy and they are looking for her too." But, she said, "I haven't gotten any information from anyone," she said.

Sebastien Bellin, a businessman and basketball player who was living in Belgium and is married to an American, was also wounded.

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James also made a statement.

"We are saddened by today's attacks and extend our sincere condolences to the victims and families of those impacted," said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. "Our priority at this time is the safety and well-being of our Airmen and their families."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with our Air Force family, and with the hundreds of others affected by these tragic events," said Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force Chief of Staff.Defense Department and U.S. Embassy officials told CBS News they expect the number of American casualties in Brussels to rise. CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan reported that U.S. State Department officials said that's because this is a mass casualty event and many Americans work in Brussels.

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The three American Mormon missionaries seriously injured in the attacks at the Brussels airport were identified as (L-R) Richard Norby of Lehi, Utah, 66, Joseph Empey of Santa Clara, Utah, 20, and Mason Wells of Sandy, Utah, 19, on March 22, 2016.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Law enforcement officials provided updated numbers of at least 31 people killed Tuesday and 250 wounded in two explosions at the Belgium airport and one at a city subway station.

And there even more near misses, which included three students from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut who are studying abroad and traveling for spring break. Cate Duffy heard but wasn't injured by blast.

Professional basketball fans will be relieved to hear that while former NBA all-star Dikembe Mutuombo was also in the airport at the time of the bombing. He reported on his Facebook page that that he was unharmed.

The U.S. Embassy in Brussels is recommending that Americans in Belgium stay where they are and avoid public transportation. The embassy noted Tuesday that with the threat rating in Brussels at its highest alert, attacks can take place with little or no notice. It urged U.S. citizens to monitor media reports, follow instructions from the authorities, and "take the appropriate steps to bolster your personal security."