A British dad was forced to choose between saving his son and his daughter. They both died.

“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.”

It’s a choice no parent should ever have to face.

But on Sunday, as explosions erupted around Colombo, Sri Lanka, Matthew Linsey was forced to live out a nightmare – having to choose which of his two dying children to save.

Matthew and his two teenage children Daniel, 19, and Amelie, 15, were on a family holiday at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo when the suicide terror attack that claimed more than 300 lives unfolded.

And when the bomb hit their hotel as they were having breakfast together – injuring both children – Matthew had to make the devastating call of which child to carry downstairs to safety.

“We both went to where the lifts were and I couldn’t move them, they were both knocked out. My son looked worse than my daughter. I tried to revive him,” the grieving father told The Times of the bomb’s horrific aftermath.

Daniel Linsey, 19, and Amelie Linsey, 15. Images: Facebook.

He said he believed that Amelie had sustained less serious injuries than Daniel so he chose to carry his son downstairs, leaving his daughter with other survivors.

But, devastatingly, neither child survived.

The loving father had tried desperately to revive Daniel before taking him to a hospital, where an attempted heart massage failed to save his life.

He later found out that his daughter - who he had left at the top of the stairs - hadn't survived her injuries either.

“A lady said she’d take my daughter. I carried my son downstairs to an ambulance, we took him to the hospital."

The Shangri La hotel following Sunday's attack. Image: Getty.

“I yelled, ‘Please help my son, please help, please help.’ I thought my daughter was better off. I couldn’t find her because I was with my son. They sadly passed away.”

The 61-year-old hedge fund manager from West London survived the attack with cuts to his face. He returned to his Kensington home on Monday to be with his two sons and their mother.

His son David, 21, also spoke of losing his two younger siblings: “They were in a breakfast restaurant on the third floor when there was the first explosion.

“They tried to run away and out of the hotel. Then there was a second explosion.


“My brother and sister were ahead and dad about a metre behind. When the second one went off they were caught in the blast.”

Paying tribute to Daniel and Amelie, David said they were "the most loving people".

“My sister held the whole family together. My brother was the nicest person you could imagine.

“I can’t describe just how devastating it is. No one ever thinks this could happen.

“My dad hasn’t said much. Only that they were caught up in the second blast.

“They took both my sister and brother to hospital but they couldn’t do anything.

“I think they were both dead before they got there.

“We already miss them so much. My dad seems physically OK but really shocked. He’s trying to help my mum and younger brother.”

The Linseys are one of hundreds of families torn apart by the attack that killed at least 321, and injured more than 500.

A Sri Lankan official yesterday said the bombings were retaliation for recent deadly attacks on mosques in New Zealand, with two domestic Islamist groups believed to have been behind Sunday’s blasts.

No group has claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks, which officials said were carried out by at least seven suicide bombers on three churches and four hotels.