Scores of US evacuees arrive in NJ from Haiti

Mirlene Jacob, 27, of Philadelphia, Pa., talks about the earthquake as she stands on crutches Friday, Jan. 15, 2010, at McGuire Air Force Base in Wrightstown, N.J., after three military cargo planes flew 259 Americans from earthquake-ravaged Haiti to McGuire. Jacob said she had arrived in Haiti approximately 15 minutes before an earthquake struck and was hurt jumping from a damaged building.

The Associated Press
Published: Friday, January 15, 2010 at 4:39 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 15, 2010 at 4:39 p.m.

MCGUIRE AIR FORCE BASE, N.J. — More than 240 U.S. citizens who were in Haiti for tourism, business or charity when the Caribbean nation's devastating earthquake struck arrived back on American soil Friday, delivered to New Jersey by military aircraft.

The evacuees to McGuire Air Force Base included 246 Americans, as well as seven Haitians who are to be reunited with family members in the United States, said Rep. John Adler, a New Jersey Democrat whose district includes the base.

"They have been airlifted out for their own safety and security," Adler said.

The evacuees included Mirlene Jacob, 27, of Philadelphia, who said she had arrived in Haiti only 15 minutes before the earthquake struck. She stood on crutches at the New Jersey base as she described jumping from a damaged building.

McGuire set up a center where the evacuees could get warm clothing, be examined by a doctor and receive mental health counseling. Base personnel were also helping arrange transportation to their final destinations.

A C-17 Globemaster 3 aircraft flew military personnel and equipment to the disaster area and returned with the citizens, said base spokeswoman Angel Lopez.

The 621st Contingency Response Wing deployed to help with the distribution of aid as part of the humanitarian effort, Lopez said.


Associated Press photographer Mel Evans contributed to this report.

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