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Brussels Attacks: American Was One Train Behind Deadly Maalbeck Metro Blast

by Alexander Smith and Lisa McNally /  / Updated 

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Thirty-year-old New Jersey native Evan Lamos was on his cellphone reading about Tuesday morning's deadly Brussels airport attack when his subway car came to an unexpected halt in the Belgian capital.

Although his "ears popped" and he "felt a soft blast of air" on his face, he told NBC News he no idea he was just one train behind another deadly explosion unfolding at the city's Maalbeck metro station.

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At least 26 people were killed in the blasts across the European capital, prompting authorities to raise Belgium's terror threat level and halt public transport across the city.

"I didn't immediately panic as there are often technical problems," said Lamos, who was born in New Jersey and grew up in Georgia before moving to Belgium aged 15. "I thought the soft blast of air was an air-con issue."

Lamos, who works as a multimedia director, also live-tweeted the whole experience to his 2,000-something followers.

As soon as the subway car stopped, "everyone was talking about the blast at the airport, but there was no panicking," he said. The passengers were told to evacuate the train but given no details.

Related: U.S. Officials, Travelers on Alert After Brussels Blasts

"People were helping each other. I helped a woman with a buggy," he said. "Only one guy jumped over chairs to try to get off ahead of other people."

The passengers walked through the dark subway tunnel for around three minutes, before emerging to a chaotic scene.

"Outside we could see everyone was being evacuated," he said. "Traffic was stopped and police were on the scene."

It was only when he arrived at his office that he "realized that it was definitely an explosion in the train ahead of me."

He said that if he had left for work a few minutes earlier he likely would have been caught up in the blast.

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