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Rachel and Joel - Young couple claw their way out of rubbleby Aimee Herd : Jan 15, 2010 : CBS NewsFrank and Jillian - Husband saves wife who was trapped for 10 hours underneath wreckage from quake

“Mom, it was a miracle, God performed a miracle.”

President Obama, on Thursday, spoke to the people of Haiti during a press conference, telling them they “would not be forsaken” or forgotten.

As reports filter in about the devastation in Haiti, I find it interesting to note how many NGO workers, Christian groups and missionaries were already down there, working among the Haitian people prior to Tuesday’s enormous quake. A large number of them come from America.

The following are survival stories from a couple of those who were already in Haiti helping the people there until the massive tremor struck. Their rescues highlight the desperation of the situation there up to this point.

Young Couple Claw Their Way Out from Under Piles of Rubble

Rachel and Joel, graduates of the Christian college based in Oregon, George Fox University, were in Haiti on a four-year stay, doing human rights work among the people there. They were both in their 3rd-story apartment in Port-au-Prince when the tremendous earthquake struck. (Photo:

Back home in The Dalles, Oregon, Rachel’s parents Bev and Alan Eagy waited in desperation for any word about their daughter and her husband.

“All I could see was my daughter, in the dark, injured or dead, and my son-in-law dead,” Bev told reporters.

“It was a terrible feeling,” added Alan, Rachel’s father. It was a feeling the parents had to endure for nine anxious hours, until a brief call came in the middle of the night from Rachel saying, “I’m alive.”

Rachel explained to her mother that the couple’s apartment building had collapsed, and with no rescue workers around, the two were forced to dig themselves out with their own hands, and get to safety.

Before hanging up, in answer to her mother’s inquiries on their condition, the young girl told her, “Mom, it was a miracle, God performed a miracle.”

Husband Saves Wife Who was Trapped for 10 Hours Underneath Wreckage from Quake

Frank Thorp, who works for CBS news in Haiti, felt a tremor from the devastating earthquake centered near Port-au-Prince, but initially didn’t think much about it—he was 100 miles away.

But when news reports began to paint a horrible picture of destruction in the tiny nation’s capital, he immediately jumped into his car for the six-hour drive to rescue his wife Jillian, a Christian aid worker. (Photo: CBS News)

Jillian had managed a 10-second cell phone emergency call to her husband to tell him she and another worker with Haitian Ministries, had been trapped underneath piles of concrete debris—all that remained of their 3-story home.

“It’s all on the ground level now,” Frank said, explaining that she and the co-worker were “completely trapped” under about a foot of concrete.

Upon finally reaching the area where their home once stood, Frank described the scene and what happened.

“I jumped into the hole and I was able to see her wave her hand. I couldn’t see her whole body. She was just waving and I could hear her voice. And it was—I mean, you know, I couldn’t hold it together, but all she was saying [was], ‘just hold it together, hold it together, just get me out of here.’ And, you know, we had to pull, you know, bricks and bricks and bricks and wood and doors and metal away for at least an hour before we were able to get her and her co-worker out as well.”

Thankful and proud of his son-in-law was Jillian’s father, Clay Cook, who said, “Frank actually literally lifted her out of the wreckage. Just like the cavalry. You can’t script that stuff.”

Jillian sustained only cuts and bruises, while her co-worker may have broken his leg; both were treated at the US Embassy.

When asked about going home to America now, Jillian refused. “I can’t leave, I have to stay and help,” she said.

1 Response to “Two Inspiring Stories of Survival from Haiti’s Earthquake-devastated Capital”

  1. 1 ElMyers Peres

    The Haitian people has my condoloences. The recent earthquake was a tragedy.

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