Triangle residents caught in Haiti return home

Cary men survive earthquake in Haiti

January 15, 2010 8:43:45 PM PST
Three local men who survived the earthquake in Haiti were back at their Cary office Friday after a two day trek to the Dominican Republic to get a flight back to the states.The three were at a business meeting in Haiti Tuesday afternoon when they say the earth began shaking.

"As soon as the first rumble happened I knew internally that it was an earthquake," earthquake survivor Mike Fralix said.

"And it just continued to build and build," earthquake survivor Will Duncan added. "Things start falling."

"The floor was (wiggles arms) almost like a funhouse," earthquake survivor Tim Curran said. "People were falling down and we were all running trying to get under desks."

The building they were in suffered severe structural damage, but did not fall.

They say an hour later and they would have been back at the hotel Montana - a five story building now reduced to a pile of rubble covering many bodies.

So after setting up shop for a day in front of the office building they were in, the three men hatched a plan to get to an airport in neighboring Dominican Republic.

They concentrated on their goal, snapping pictures along the way, but not really thinking about what they were going through until they got back.

"It more started sinking in once we were out of harm's way, so to speak," Curran said.

It also hit Duncan as he was talking about how he was glad he was with two good friends.

"If you had to go through something like this (choking up)," he said.

The men say despite their experience, they will go back to Haiti.

They were down there to teach people to use machinery to make apparel. And they say that country needs their help with jobs now more than ever.

"Our work isn't finished there," Fralix said. "They need a lot of help."

Missionaries return

Meanwhile, 11 missionaries that were in Haiti when the quake struck arrived home Friday night.

Among them was a woman in her 70s, who says her homecoming is bittersweet.

Helen Little was in Port-au-Prince when the earthquake struck Tuesday.

"Houses went right down ? five children ? nobody can bury them, there's no money to bury with," she said. "These are good people and they deserve better than they're getting."

Hurt in Haiti

Other North Carolinians were also in the Caribbean nation when the quake struck and were hurt in the disaster.

An UNC graduate student says she was rescued from the rubble of the collapsed house where she was living in Haiti.

Laura Wagner says after the building collapsed, she started screaming and a servant in the house came to her rescue. She was trapped for about an hour and a half after the earthquake hit.

She is now in a hospital in Miami. Wagner has lacerations and possible nerve damage in her left arm.

She says she doesn't know when she'll be released from the hospital or when she'll return to UNC Chapel Hill.

And a Roanoke Rapids minister was found alive in the rubble of a Port-au-Prince hotel.

Sam Dixon's wife tells ABC11 Eyewitness News that she has not heard if he's actually been pulled from the rubble yet, but she does know he suffered a leg injury.

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