‘A generation lost’: The victims of Sri Lanka bombings

Here are the stories of some of the 253 people who died in the Easter Sunday bomb attacks in Sri Lanka.

A woman who lost her husband and two children during the bombing at St Sebastian''s Church yells towards the graves during a mass burial for victims at a cemetery near the church in Negombo

Entire families attending Easter Mass, a mother and daughter enjoying breakfast on the Christian holy day, a newlywed man on honeymoon – these are some of the victims of the devastating bomb blasts that rocked churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.

Scores of children, many of them from the same family, are among the 253 people killed when the coordinated assaults hit a church and three hotels in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, and the towns of Negombo, just north of the capital, and Batticaloa on the east coast. 

The vast majority of victims were worshippers from Sri Lanka’s Christian minority.

Dozens of foreign tourists, many visiting the country for the holiday period, were also killed

Here is what we know about some of the victims of the blasts, listed by nationality: 

Sri Lanka

St Sebastian’s Church, Negombo

Rangana Fernando, his wife Danadiri Kuruppuachchi and all of their children were killed in the attack in Negombo. The couple’s daughters, Biola and Leona, were aged six and four, respectively, while their son, Seth, was just 11 months old.

Anusha Kumari, 43, lost her husband, Dulip Appuhami, her two children, Dulakghi and Vimukthi, as well as her sister-in-law and two nieces in the bombing at St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo.

“You won’t believe it, but I had the perfect family,” Kumari, whose face was struck by shrapnel from the blast, told The Associated Press news agency. “In 24 years of marriage, my husband and I never argued. All four of us slept in the same room. Now, I have lost everything.”

Anusha Kumari holds portraits of her daughter Sajini Venura Dulakshi and son Vimukthi Tharidu Appuhami [Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP]
Anusha Kumari holds portraits of her daughter Sajini Venura Dulakshi and son Vimukthi Tharidu Appuhami [Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP]

Agnes Vnikprodha, 69, and her eight-month-old grandson, Matthew, were both killed.

Sneha Savindi, 12, also died in the Negombo church bombing. Her uncle, Duminda, said her badly wounded body was only identifiable by a birthmark on her foot. Stroking the sealed coffin, Savindi’s aunt Lalitha said, “I wanted to see you as a bride, but now, you’re in this box.”


Negombo resident Herman Peiris lost two sisters and two nieces – one of whom was about to get married. He said his sisters, Celine and Elizabeth, spent most of their time as involved members at St Sebastian’s, but now people in the community were afraid to go there.

He called for more security and for leaders to take both the blame and action. “We villagers, or civil people, we can’t do much,” Peiris said.

Enosh Silva, 12, was killed in St Sebastian’s, as was Dhulodh Anthony, 7, who was buried at the Methodist cemetery in Negombo. Calistas Fernando and two of his family members also died.

Sri Lankan-born Manik Suriaaratchi and her 10-year-old daughter Alexendria, who was born in Melbourne, were killed in the attack on St Sebastian’s Church, where they were reportedly regular attendees. Manik’s husband, Sudesh Kolonne, was outside when the blast occurred and survived. Manik was a senior executive at marketing company Omega Global. The family had returned to Sri Lanka several years ago from Australia to take care of her mother.

Nilanga Anthony, centre, mourns the death of his seven-year-old nephew Dhulodh Anthony [Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP]
Nilanga Anthony, centre, mourns the death of his seven-year-old nephew Dhulodh Anthony [Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP]

Jiyasha Sheshani Janz, 12, and her mother Dineesha Geetani de Vaas were also killed, according to the New York Times.

Carpenter Dileep Roshan, 37, left behind a wife and daughter, his family said. “His wife and daughter won’t be able to do much now because he is gone,” said his older brother, Sanjeevani Roshan. “The real question is: What will happen to their future?”

Tyonne Gulding, 56, was killed along with his wife, Gayani Fernando, and mother-in-law Mary Anaslyn. The rickshaw driver and his family were standing close to the person believed to have detonated the bomb, a neighbour, who was with them and survived, told the BBC.

Lahiru Prasanga, a 34-year-old carpenter, and his wife, Diliini Sajeewani, 34, were newlyweds. They were building their own house and planning for a family, the Sunday Leader reported. They were killed in the Easter Sunday blast in Negombo. Lahiru’s mother rushed to the church after the bombing and discovered the couple had already been taken to hospital. “I found Diliini in the morgue,” she told the paper. “I identified her from her clothing and her bracelet.”

St Anthony’s Shrine, Colombo

Berlington Joseph Gomez, 33, and his wife, Chandrika Arumugam, 31, went to church at Colombo’s St Anthony’s Shrine. As always, they brought their three sons: 9-year-old Bevon, 6-year-old Clavon and baby Avon, just 11 months old.

Berlington’s father Joseph Gomez told the AP: “All family, all generation, is lost.” 

Joseph Gomez lost his son, daughter-in-law and their three children [Eranga Jayawardena/AP]
Joseph Gomez lost his son, daughter-in-law and their three children [Eranga Jayawardena/AP]

Subramani Christopher attended mass with his wife and infant son. The 28-year-old driver had been married only 11 months. He was killed, the BBC reported, but his wife and child survived.

Ravindran Fernando, 61, was a restaurant employee who worked near St Anthony’s. He was killed while attending Easter Mass, according to the New York Times.

Mary Otricia Johnson, 47, was a mother of three from Colombo.

K Pirathap, 38, was killed along with his wife Anashdi, 35, and their two daughters, Antinaa, 7, and Abriyaana, 1. Pirathap, a rickshaw driver, had purchased a new vehicle, the New York Times reported, and the family was in a “celebratory mood” at mass on Sunday.

Sarojini Velusamy, 49, went to St Anthony’s Church for Easter Mass and has not been seen since. Sarojini was married at 16, but her husband walked out on her after four years of marriage and she brought up her two sons largely alone. In the aftermath of the bombing, her family told Al Jazeera they had gone to the hospitals and the mortuaries several times but they still hadn’t found her. A week on, they’re losing hope.

Sarojini Velusamy, 49, went to celebrate mass at St Anthony’s on Easter Sunday and never returned. Her family are still looking for her [Kate Mayberry/ Al Jazeera]
Sarojini Velusamy, 49, went to celebrate mass at St Anthony’s on Easter Sunday and never returned. Her family are still looking for her [Kate Mayberry/ Al Jazeera]

A fisherman, Savarimuttu Amalasooriyan, 38, was the youngest in his family and lived with his mother in Mullaitivu on Sri Lanka’s northeast coast. He came down to the capital on the Friday before Easter to visit his sister. He was killed in the bombing at St Anthony’s. His 52-year-old sister, Jesudasan Pushparani, identified his body and on Sunday, a week after his death, lit a candle in remembrance.

Protestant Zion Church, Batticaloa

Pastor Ganesh Thirukumaran lost his teenage son Thirukumaran Shalom Malshya during the bombing at the Protestant Zion church in Batticaloa. The pastor told Al Jazeera it was he who had welcomed the suspected attacker into the church.

Sharon Santhakumar, 12, and his younger sister, Sarah, were buried next to each other the day after they were killed, the BBC reported.

The family of Ramesh Raju told the BBC the 40-year-old building contractor’s actions helped save lives. The father of two stopped a man with a backpack from entering the church, helping to prevent more casualties.

Shangri-La, Colombo

Sri Lankan celebrity chef Shantha Mayadunne was pictured having breakfast in the Shangri-La hotel just minutes before a bomb tore apart the hotel’s restaurant. Her daughter Nisanga posted the picture on Facebook shortly before the blast on Sunday with the caption “Easter breakfast with the family”.

A family member posted a tribute on Facebook saying Shantha and her daughter were both killed.

“No words can describe the pain. They were the most loving family anyone could ask for and I will always be grateful for having them in my life,” wrote Manik Mayadunne.


Cinnamon Grand, Colombo

Four Sri Lankan staff members at the Cinnamon Grand hotel died in the attacks. They were MHM Ibrahim, 23, MNM Nisthar, 21, BADN Shanta, 50, GMD Sanjeewani, 35.

The fourth Cinnamon Grand employee, Arshad Yaheya, was enjoying a complimentary stay at the hotel to celebrate his 36th birthday when a bomb ripped through the restaurant where he and his family were having breakfast. Arshad was killed while his wife and two daughters were wounded, his relative Tuan Yoonus told Al Jazeera.


Zayan Chowdhury, the eight-year-old grandson of the leader of Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, was killed. His body was flown to Dhaka and buried there. 

Bangladeshis offer funeral prayers for the Awami League leader's grandson in Dhaka [AFP]
Bangladeshis offer funeral prayers for the Awami League leader’s grandson in Dhaka [AFP]

United Kingdom

Anita Nicholson, 42, a Singapore-based lawyer for mining company Anglo-American, died alongside her 14-year-old son Alex and 11-year-old daughter Annabel in the Shangri-La hotel blast.

Her husband Ben Nicholson was the only family member to survive the attack.

“Mercifully, all three of them died instantly and with no pain or suffering,” he said in a statement released by the UK Foreign Office. “I am deeply distressed at the loss of my wife and children. Anita was a wonderful, perfect wife and a brilliant, loving and inspirational mother to our two wonderful children.”

London teenagers Daniel Linsey, 19, and his younger sister Amelie, 15, were also killed at the Shangri-La hotel on the final day of their holiday, according to media reports quoting relatives. Their father Matthew Linsey survived and described to The Times desperately trying to revive his unconscious son in the aftermath of the attack.

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

Retired Manchester firefighter Billy Harrop and his wife Sally Bradley, a clinical services director, both died in the Cinnamon Grand Hotel bombing. The couple had lived in Australia since 2013 but were due to return to Britain.


British IT director Lorraine Campbell, 55, also died in the Cinnamon Grand Hotel bombing soon after arriving in Sri Lanka on a business trip.

“I’ve lost my best friend in the world, for all the adventures we shared and planned for the future,” husband Neil Evans said in a family statement.


Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen lost three of his four children in the Easter day attacks. Povlsen, his wife Anne and their four children were in Sri Lanka on holiday at the time of the attacks. 

United States

Eleven-year-old Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa was killed at the breakfast buffet of a hotel in the Sri Lankan capital while on holiday with his mother, who suffered minor injuries in the blast. “We should know what the world lost, what they took from the world,” his father Alex Arrow told ABC News. “A brilliant mind who … won’t make it to his 12th birthday.”

Dieter Kowalski, who lived in Denver and worked for international education company Pearson, died in the blasts shortly after he arrived at his hotel for a business trip, the company and his family told the AP.

Saudi Arabia

Ahmed Zain Jaafari and Hani Maged Othman, crew members at Saudi Arabian airlines, were killed in the Sri Lanka bombings.

“Each has a long tenure supporting the airline,” Saudia said in a statement. “All of us mourn for Ahmed and Hani, who are our brothers for eternity, and our hearts are filled with pain for the indescribable loss that their families are facing.”


Rui Lucas, 31, was killed at the Kingsbury Hotel while on honeymoon with his wife, who escaped the blast uninjured. The amateur footballer and electrical engineer’s family was “in shock”, his brother Hugo Lucas told Cofina Media. His wife returned to Portugal on Monday, Cofina reported.


Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies