American Dad Who Was Forced to Choose Which Child to Save in Sri Lanka Shares His Heartbreak

Odette Odendaal
Apr 26, 2019
03:15 P.M.
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After the horrific bomb explosions that tore through Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, an American father lost both his children and shared how he had to make a decision no parent should ever have to make.


An investor, Matthew Linsey, and his family enjoyed breakfast at the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo, on the last day of their vacation when the bombs started exploding, according to The Times.

The Linsey family. | Source: YouTube/ ITV News


“You can’t describe how bad it was. People were screaming. I was with my children. I couldn’t tell whether they were all right, it was dark,” Linsey told the publication.

The blast had left both his children, 19-year-old Daniel and his 15-year-old daughter Amelie unconscious and critically injured by the shrapnel.


Disorientated and injured by the explosion himself, Matthew sifted through the rubble in the dark to get to them. “I couldn’t move them, they were both knocked out,” Linsey said.

They both needed urgent medical attention, and Matthew knew that he had to make a choice. He told The Times that his daughter Amelie seemed to be in a better condition than his son, so he grabbed Daniel in hopes of getting him the help he needed.

Daniel and Amelie Linsey. | Source: YouTube/ CNN


“My son looked worse than my daughter. I tried to revive him,” Matthew explained. “A lady said she’d take my daughter. I carried my son downstairs to an ambulance; we took him to the hospital. I yelled, ‘Please help my son! Please help! Please help!'” he added.

He stayed with his son because he thought Amelie’s injuries weren’t as severe as Daniel’s and then struggled to find her. Sadly, they both passed away.

Daniel and Amelie are two of four Americans confirmed to have died during the explosion in Sri Lanka. Matthew was born in the US but lived in the UK - where Amelie and Daniel were born, so they had dual UK and US citizenship.


The devastated father spoke of how beautiful Amelie was, inside and out. She attended the Godolphin and Latymer School in Hammersmith while Daniel attended Westminster Kingsway College.

He hadn’t yet made up his mind between attending university at Leicester or Manchester.


“Amelie was really fun. She was smart, beautiful. Very loving, very caring, understanding. She cared about her family and her friends. And the same with Danny,” he told the publication.


Daniel loved doing charity work and had previously volunteered at an orphanage in Ethiopia and also with nomads in Mongolia.

Matthew lived in New York during the ’90s where he served as vice president of Chase Manhattan. Thankfully his injuries were not life-threatening and sustained cuts to his face from the shrapnel. Matthew is in the process of arranging the repatriation of his children’s bodies.

The first American confirmed to have died during the bombing, Dieter Kowalski, went to Colombo on business and was at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel at the time of the explosions, one of the other hotels that got targeted, along with churches.

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