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Minnesotans Relieved To Be Back Home From Egypt

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some Minnesotans are relieved to be back home from Egypt. With Internet and cell phones shut down for part of the weekend, it was difficult to communicate with loved ones back home. And it was even worse trying to get flights out.

“Egypt is a great country,” said former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Kathleen Blatz.

She and her husband, Wheelock Whitney, never thought they’re tour of Egypt would end like this.

“Our tour was supposed to go through Saturday. And then martial law was kicking in and we had to get out of our hotels,” she said.

“I’m almost 85-years-old and I never thought I’d get into the middle of a revolution,” said Whitney. “But that’s really what it was.”

“It was chaos,” said Blatz. “It was like the pictures of people leaving Vietnam at the end of the war at the airport. It was just chaos.”

But they did make it home on a flight connecting through Amsterdam.

Also on board were several students from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D. The students are members of the school band. They had been playing concerts at colleges all over Egypt for the past three weeks.

“People were panicked trying to get out of there and shoving and pushing and fighting,” said chaperone Mary Pennington. “So moving a group of 60 kids with all this equipment, it was challenging.”

“I never felt unsafe because our tour guides, they made sure we were secure,” said student Collin Block.

He said it was interesting to see history being made. But like Brian Hokeness, the students are all glad to be back.

“It’s great just to know that we’ll be with family and friends tonight,” said Hokeness.

The Augustana students had to split up into groups to get flights home. They’re all expected to be back in the country by Tuesday and back in class by the end of the week.

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