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Romanian killed in London terrorist attack is remembered five years on

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By Diana Sobaru
A picture of the Romanian victim of the March 22 terrorist attack in London, Andreea Cristea, is placed on a vehicle, in Constanta
A picture of the Romanian victim of the March 22 terrorist attack in London, Andreea Cristea, is placed on a vehicle, in Constanta   -   Copyright  Credit: Reuters

The sister of a Romanian tourist who died after a London terrorist attack has paid tribute to her "beautiful, smart and soulful" sibling. 

Andreea Cristea, 31, was among those killed in the incident five years ago today on 22 March 2017.

She was thrown into the River Thames when Khalid Masood, 52, drove into pedestrians on Westminister Bridge before stabbing a policeman in the grounds of the UK parliament. Andreea was pulled from the river but died later in hospital. 

Her sister, Magda Țoi, told Euronews that five years on she couldn't understand why fate had been so cruel to Andreea. 

She described her as "a beautiful, smart, involved, soulful girl with a great zest for life".

"It's very difficult what we feel, it can't be described in words," said Magda. "She was just a child. She was only 31 years old, all her life before [her]. She wanted to start a family, all her dreams were shattered in a split second. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

We need to enjoy our loved ones every moment that they are alive.

Andreea, from Constanța on Romania's Black Sea coast, had been visiting London with her boyfriend, Andrei Burnaz, who was celebrating his birthday on the day of the attack.  

Magda said it had been Andrei who had broken the news of the incident to her. 

"I didn't understand what he was saying, he was screaming, he was saying he couldn't find her," Magda told Euronews Romania. 

"I told him to look for her. He told me it was an accident, he didn't know where Andreea was, that maybe she jumped into the water. 

Credit: AP
Andrei Burnaz, the boyfriend of Andreea Cristea, who was a victim of the attack on Westminster Bridge, reacts, during a religious service in Constanta, RomaniaCredit: AP

"Then I turned on the television and saw what happened. All television stations reported that a woman had fallen into the water. 

"Then I started calling all the hospitals. I was giving her signals, no one was telling me anything, I was not receiving any information. 

"In the meantime, I had already bought my plane ticket. 

"The police called me after about two hours and explained exactly what had happened. They picked me up from the airport and took me straight to the hospital. They told me it was very serious, she had already been operated on, but no one knew what the evolution would be."

Andreea had emergency surgery for a blood clot on the brain but died more than two weeks after the incident on 6 April. 

Credit: AP
Flowers are seen at Westminster bridge to remember the terror attack on March 22, in London, Friday, April 7, 2017.Credit: AP

"Although five years have passed since she is no longer with us, we always think of her," said Magda. "Our father died when she was 13, my mother was ill, so we only had each other. She always wanted to travel, she really liked to go on holiday, to see the world, to get to know herself."

As well as Andreea, also killed in the attack were Utah man Kurt Cochran, 54; Britons Leslie Rhodes, 75, and Aysha Frade, 44; and 48-year-old police officer Keith Palmer. The attacker, Masood, was shot dead by police. 

Magda said she was in touch with the families of other victims and that the UK government had invited them to take part in commemorations. 

"In all the pain I feel, I have a message for everyone who reads these lines," added Magda. "We need to enjoy our loved ones every moment that they are alive. We have to live every moment at full intensity because we don't know if we will be able to do it tomorrow. We need to appreciate each other more, love each other more and enjoy each other more."