A Belgian woman killed in a terrorist attack in Manhattan this week was an "amazing wife" and "the most wonderful mom to our two little boys," her grieving husband said.
Ann-Laure Decadt, 31, from Staden, West Flanders, Belgium, was one of eight victims killed when the attacker drove a truck for blocks through a bike lane on Tuesday before crashing into a school bus.
Her husband, Alexander Naessens, told Dutch language newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws that Decadt was vacationing in New York with her two sisters and mother and was biking along the West Side Highway when the attack happened.
"She was an amazing wife and the most wonderful mom to our two little boys of three months and three years. This loss is unbearable and unimaginable for us," Naessens said in a statement. "It is cruel that someone who's on vacation loses their life like this."
Decadt's sisters and mother were with her but were not injured, he added.
The other victims included five longtime friends visiting from Argentina and two New York-area men.
The five Argentines were on a trip to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation, Argentina's minister of foreign affairs said in a statement on Twitter.
A friend who was with them and wasn't hurt, Ariel Benvenuto, called his wife, Cecilia Piedrabuena, back home in Argentina to tell her something serious had happened in New York, the wife told LT8, a radio station in Rosario. The news hadn't yet been publicly reported in Argentina.
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"The 10 of them were on bicycles, chatting in groups of two. He was closer to the center. All of those on the right were run over," Piedrabuena told the radio station. "He felt a vehicle speed up and go over his five friends."
The two Americans killed were Darren Drake, 32, of New Milford, New Jersey, and Nicholas Cleves, 23, of New York.
Cleves, the youngest victim of the attack, was an only child who lived with his mother in the West Village, neighbors told NBC New York. They described him as intelligent with an adventurous spirit.
"This was an absolute lovely young man. This is the kind of person every parent hopes their child grows up to be," a neighbor who only gave her name as Diane told NBC New York.
Drake, who was run over on his bike, was a program manager at Moody's Analytics and a graduate of Rutgers University, his distraught father, Jimmy Drake, told NBC New York.
Drake had recently decided to focus on his health, his father said. He had lost nearly 100 pounds after undergoing weight-loss surgery. To stay fit, he would step away from work for 10 or 15 minutes to get some biking in, his father said.
"When normal people take a coffee break, he took a bike break," he said.
Drake was the former president of the New Milford Board of Education and was kind to everyone, his father added.
"If he was a drug addict or something like that, you could understand early death, but this kid went to mass, and if there was one guy that the terrorist was going to kill, it wouldn’t be my son. My son wouldn’t swat a fly. He’d make me do it!” Jimmy Drake said.
"He had everything going for him," he said through tears.
In addition to the eight killed, 12 people were injured.
Police shot and injured the suspect, Sayfullo Saipov. Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbekistan native, was inspired by ISIS, according to a federal complaint.
The attack is the deadliest incident of terrorism in New York City since Sept. 11, 2001.
Elizabeth Chuck is a reporter for NBC News.
Sigi de Vos
Sigi de Vos is a senior producer with the TODAY based in London. She has been with NBC since 1985.
De Vos was born in Namibia and worked as a journalist in South Africa, covering the end of apartheid. She covered both Gulf Wars, the wars in the ex-Yugoslavia, Eastern Europe before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. She is also a veteran of TODAY's Where in the World Series, from Svalbard, Norway, to the Middle East and North Africa. She is a connoisseur of stories on art, science and urban legends.
De Vos has won numerous prizes for her journalism, including five Emmy Awards and a Headliner Award for her work on the war in Bosnia.