At least 300 people died in the Sri Lanka Easter Sunday attacks — here are some of their stories

Chamila Karunarathne/Anadolu Agency/GettySecurity forces inspect the scene after a blast targeting The Kingsbury hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka on April 21.

Sri Lanka is reeling after at least 311 people were killed in bombings at churches and luxury hotels as Christians celebrated Easter Sunday on the island nation off the southern coast of India.

Officials have blamed a little-known radical Muslim group called National Thowfeek Jamaath for the series of suicide bombings in three cities, which also left 500 injured.

On Monday, the identities of some of the dead began to emerge, as it was revealed that they came from at least nine countries.

Continue to read their stories.


Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen lost three of his four children

Tariq Mikkel Khan/AFP/GettyDanish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen is seen above in August 2017.

Povlsen was on vacation with his family in Sri Lanka when the attacks happened on Sunday. According to Forbes, the family were staying at the five-star Shangri La Hotel, one of the sites targeted in Sunday’s bombings.

On Monday, a spokesperson for Povlsen’s company, Bestseller, confirmed the news, but declined to identify which three children died or comment further.

“We ask you to respect privacy and we therefore have no further comments,” Jesper Stubkier said in a statement to B.T.

The New York Times reports that the Povlsens keep an “extremely low public profile.” While the names of Povlsen’s children are known, their ages are not. They are Alma, Agnes, Astrid and Alfred.

According to Bloomberg, Povlson, 46, is Denmark’s wealthiest man with an estimated worth of $US5.7 billion. He and his wife Anne are also believed to be Scotland’s largest private landowners, after buying up 200,000 acres of the Scottish Highlands.

The bulk of Povlson’s wealth comes from Bestseller, the clothing company his parents founded in 1975, Forbes reports. But he’s also the largest single investor in ASOS, the hugely-popular British online retailer.


American businessman Dieter Kowalski had just arrived in Sri Lanka for a business trip.

FacebookAmerican Dieter Kowalski was killed shortly after arriving in Sri Lanka on Sunday for a business trip.

The 40-year-old Denver resident excitedly posted about his work trip on Friday, saying he was en route to Colombo.

“And the fun begins,” he posted on Facebook. “Love these work trips. 24 hours of flying. See you soon Sri Lanka!”

Kowalski worked as a senior technical lead for Pearson, a British-owned education publishing and assessment company, according to his LinkedIn profile. The company’s CEO, John Fallon, confirmed his death in a statement on Monday.

Fallon said that Kowalski had “just arrived at his hotel, where many of our colleagues have stayed over the years, when he was killed in an explosion,” on Sunday.

According to NBC News, Kowalski was staying at the Cinnamon Grand, one of the three hotels that were targeted on Sunday.

Fallon added: “Colleagues who knew Dieter well talk about how much fun he was to be around, how big-hearted and full-spirited he was…

“Let’s remember his love of life and his love of solving people’s problems. In these desperately difficult days, let’s honour Dieter by showing that love ourselves, by taking extra care of each other – at work, at home and in our communities.”


Zayan Chowdhury, a relative of Bangladesh’s prime minister, was killed while eating breakfast with his father.

The 8-year-old is the grandson of Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, the leader of Bangladesh’s governing political party, the Awami League. Selim is the cousin of the country’s Prime Minister Sehikh Hesina.

BDnews24.com reported that Zayan and his family were on vacation in Colombo. Zayan and his father were having breakfast in a restaurant on the ground floor of their hotel whe one of the blast happened, killing the boy and injured his father, the online newspaper reports. Zayan’s mother and younger brother were still up in their hotel room.


British lawyer Ben Nicholson lost his whole family in the attacks.

FacebookThe British Nicholson family is pictured from left to right: Alex, Anita, Annabel and Ben.

Nicholson, his wife Anita, 42, and their two children Alex, 11, and Annabel, were on vacation in Colombo when the attacks happened.

The family was having breakfast at the Shangri-La Hotel on Sunday morning when two suicide bombers came into the restaurant.

The blast left Nicholson injured as well, but when the shell-shocked father came to, his only thought was for his family.

Pushpa Zoysa, who is in charge of emergency triage at the National Hospital in Colombo, told MailOnline that the father came into the hospital “covered in blood,” searching for his family.

“He spoke to me twice, asking about his family. He had blood all over him but he was not injured, apart from a small cut to his ear. He was not running or crying, he was shocked. We wondered whether he was confused but he seemed in control. He just kept asking about his family members.

“He was walking around completely alone and I feel sorry for him but there were so many dead and dying people here, I didn’t have time to speak to him more. Eventually he left,” Zoysa said.

The Times reports that Nicholson eventually found his son’s body at the mortuary. His wife and daughter have since been confirmed dead as well.

According to their LinkedIn profiles, the Nicholsons worked as lawyers in Singapore.


Sri Lankan TV chef Shantha Mayadunne was killed alongside her daughter, Nisanga.

FacebookSri Lankan TV chef Shantha Mayadunne is pictured on the right with her daughter, Nisanga.

Mayadunne was having breakfast with her family at the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo on Sunday morning when she and her daughter were killed in one of the blasts.

Just before the explosion, Mayadunne’s daughter posted a picture of their family at breakfast for the Christian holiday.

“Easter breakfast with the family,” Nisanga Mayadunne captioned the photo.

Mayadunne was the first chef to have her own TV cooking program in Sri Lanka, according to her Facebook. She also published two books and taught cooking classes and workshops, ABC Australia reports.


An 11-year-old boy who attended Sasha Obama’s school.

NBC NewsAlexander Arrow, father of Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa, spoke about losing his son in the Sri Lanka bombings in an interview with NBC News.

Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa, 11, was having breakfast at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo on Sunday when he was killed in one of the Sri Lanka bombings, his father Alexander Arrow told NBC News. The boy was eating with his mother and grandmother, who both survived the attack.

Kieran’s father said that he was hit with three pieces of shrapnel, including one that struck his heart.

“Kieran was just a foot in the wrong direction,” Arrow said.

Kieran was on a leave of absense from the elite Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, while he studied in his mother’s native home for a year. The K-12 institution is a favourite among DC politicians. Sasha Obama is currently a student at the school, which both her older sister and Chelsea Clinton attended.

Arrow says that his son was set to move back to the States after the school year wrapped up in Sri Lanka, and was looking forward to returning to Sidwell for sixth grade. He had attended the school since prekindergarten.

Rachel Kane, Sidwell’s middle school principal, confirmed Kieran’s death in an email on Sunday to families of students, according to the Washington Post.

“This is obviously an unexpected tragedy for his family and for his greater community, including Sidwell Friends and the class of 2026,” Kane wrote. “Kieran . . . was incredibly excited about returning to Sidwell Friends this coming school year. We are beyond sorry not to get the opportunity to welcome Kieran to the Middle School.”

Kieran’s father said that his son hoped to become a neuroscientist when he grew up.

“He wanted to address Alzheimer’s or other great unsolved neurological diseases and I know that he would have done that,” Arrow said.

He added: “The terrorists had no idea who they were killing … who they happened to hit was an incredible person who was going to do great things.”

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