B.C. teens, 2nd Canadian group rescued in Haiti
Published Sunday, January 17, 2010 10:22PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 12:44AM EDT
Canadian Forces have rescued two teams of stranded volunteers, including a group of teens who arrived in Haiti from British Columbia just before Tuesday's quake struck.
Rescued in the first operation were: 17 students, 17 adults and one infant.
The second group is made up of several dozen church volunteers from Ontario. They arrived in Haiti on Jan. 6.
In regards to the first rescue operation, there were other stranded Canadians in the vicinity who were picked up at the same time.
On Sunday around 1 p.m., the group of teens and their chaperones arrived in the capital of Port-au-Prince after spending more than four days stranded in the Haitian countryside.
Pat Dooley, a school official from the group's hometown, confirmed that the teens and the adults were safely on their way to the Canadian embassy.
"Obviously our next goal is to get them home," she told CTV News Channel.
The group was expected to board a plane late Sunday night and arrive early Monday in Montreal.
The volunteers, who are from the southeastern B.C. town of South Slocan, arrived in Haiti only 45 minutes before the quake struck on Tuesday.
For days, they had been stuck in the near Grand-Goave in Haitian country side, about 45 kilometres southwest of Port-au-Prince.
The volunteers had hoped to spend two weeks in Haiti volunteering at a goat farm.
The parents of the students have been desperate to get the group back to Canada, and were even willing to charter a private plane, which would cost around $100,000.
The group had been sleeping outside since the quake, out of fear that aftershocks would bring down their damaged accommodations.
Member Owen Spears, 17, told The Canadian Press in Haiti that he was in shock about the destruction, remembering that at the time of the quake, he thought "hopefully we don't die."
Norm Ouellet, whose son Blake is part of the team, said the teens managed to pool their cash and buy food for the Haitians they worked with.
"They worked with a lot of Haitian kids, they cleared rubble, and they bought the Haitians about 1,800 kilograms of rice."
Ontario group rescued
1,115 Canadians are still unaccounted for in Haiti, according to Foreign Affairs.
Meanwhile, a group of several dozen people from Glen Acres Baptist Church in Waterloo, Ont., were safely back at the embassy Sunday after a harrowing few days.
Mike Knopf, a Waterloo resident, said several of his family members are part of the volunteer team.
He said that Foreign Affairs had confirmed that the group of 56 people -- which include his wife, stepson, sister-in-law and nephew -- were being processed for a flight back to Canada on Sunday.
"I did get confirmation in fact that they were at the Canadian embassy," Knopf told CTV News Channel.
Since the quake, Knopf said that the group has been helping out; however, his last contact with his wife was through email on Wednesday.
"I can't fathom what my wife is going through, what they're seeing," he said.
Knopf said that none in the group had reported serious injury.