BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - It’s a happy ending for one Coast father after some anxious days waiting to find out if his daughter would make it out of Peru in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“About 10:30 or 11, I got the text that she made it to Miami, so back in the USA,” said an excited Patrick Collins, who got word late Wednesday that his daughter Laurel made it back safely from Peru after the country closed its borders due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“The goal was to get them out and get them home, and that’s what happened. They got the call late, just as she was probably boarding the plane that she wouldn’t be able to talk to me for some time because her phone would not have service,” Collins said.
You may remember us talking to Collins last week about when and how she would make it back to the U.S. Laurel was in Peru with her South Alabama classmates as part of her clinical rotation.
The plan was for the college to charter a plane for Laurel and the other students, and last weekend it looked like the operation was a go, so Patrick headed to Texas to visit his other daughter and possibly see Laurel when she got off the plane in either Houston or Dallas.
“It looked like it was imminent that she would be coming home, but it was still day to day. As I understood it, there were planes, American planes, ready to go down to get them, but Peru was of the mind that they would ship them out by their own airline, which they did,” he said.
Laurel traveled from Lima to Miami, then on to Oklahoma City where her fiancée lives.
“The plane was leaving, and I was like well, I’m not gonna throw a party until I see a plane landing in the United States because anything could go wrong, but luckily it didn’t,” Collins added.
So now, he said, his daughter Laurel is back in America after a rewarding, yet bizarre South American odyssey.
“I was so happy she got to go for her clinical rotation. She got to go to Argentina last year, so she’s well versed in traveling down to South America, and we’re just glad to have her home,” he said.