By Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) — The State Department has announced plans to use chartered planes to fly thousands of U.S. citizens from Egypt to Europe. It will take several flights over the coming days to handle the number of Americans who want to leave that country.

Like thousands of family members in the United States, a Twin Cities woman is trying to get information to her son which, until this weekend, was impossible.

Four simple words gave Patti Thurik the relief she’s been waiting for all week. She got a text that said, “Hi ma, I am OK.”

Her son Tim, an architect working in the Middle East, is among the Americans stuck in the chaos unfolding in Egypt.

“Thank goodness he’s able to communicate with us now. There was a time when he couldn’t,” said Patti, who has a son stuck in Egypt.

Through text messages to his mother and to WCCO, Tim painted the picture of the danger he’s seeing first hand.

He told WCCO “Airport is chaos, most flights cancelled.”

Tim has been trying to get information on how he can get home. He said so far, he’s only running into roadblocks.

In another text he said, “Phone lines are down at Embassy and was told to contact through Internet. No Internet anymore in Cairo.”

“Why aren’t they getting the planes in there to help them get out,” asked Patti.

From her White Bear Lake home, Patti can only watch a situation that seems to worsen by the day.

“I cried when I saw the 6 o’clock news last night … It was scary to see it so close,” she said.

A mother’s protective instinct will kick in, even a half a world away. In this case, keeping her son safe means keeping the lines of communication open.

“There needs to be a way of communicating with them if something happens and getting them home if something happens,” said Patti.

Americans taking the charter will be billed for the cost of the flight and will need to make their own travel arrangements after arriving in Europe.

Comments (7)
  1. Joe says:

    Hope is stays safe and get out of there. I’m not a religious person at all but will say a prayer for all our fellow citizen stuck in places like that and can’t get out.

    1. DaveM says:

      To whom do you pray?

  2. they trying Patti says:

    Truly amazing the extent to which the USA is willing to go to get people out.
    I guess the thing people to often forget is that the government didn’t put someone there so what they do to get them out is above what they maybe need to do. I did not state “should do” as morally we alsways should attempt anyway to get our citizens home. That said – this is a powder keg and our government maybe has no business sticking there noses in right now either as it is NOT a USA territory.
    To Patty – I hope and pray ll goes well for your son and everyone there. Let’s have faith and trust that our people will do all they can to help but I also think you need need to have some understanding. They are doing what they can. That much is known.

  3. Vic in Minni says:

    when 5 = 4 ….. hmmmmmmmm. …. 😉
    guess counting is about as lame as most of reporting nowadays.

    Four simple words gave Patti Thurik the relief she’s been waiting for all week. She got a text that said, “Hi ma, I am OK.”

  4. Flinstone Freddy wonders says:

    maybe ya can help me out here as me is baffled.
    why do we always get people out from other countries when they elect to go there.
    the key word is ELECT
    heck-hate to be me there of course. still – my government bailing me out is something I’d not expect either.
    my sister was in ElSalvador when the fur flew. took a long time but she got out on her own. most did.

  5. Mary Ann Singer says:

    Hi Patti,
    Your story caught my attention because my nephew was there on an independent study tour for three weeks. He returned home last week with a parasite illness.
    This was just before this turmoil broke out.
    I hope and pray that your son returns home safely soon. May God grant you strength and courage during this very difficult time.

  6. Flippen crazy says:

    In todays world things sure are simple. Look at how we communicate – the world can blow up in front of you and you get info out like this.
    I cannot imagine what it was like for the previous generation – took months and months if ever.
    Somewhat agree – feel for the family(s) but the role our Government takes in all this needs to be careful. The conflict is internal there – we better not rattle the sabre to loud as it is none of our business in any way

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