2 from Colo rescued in Haiti after hours in rubble
Associated Press Writer
DENVER – Two mission workers from Colorado have been rescued in Haiti after spending at least 55 hours trapped in the rubble of a collapsed hotel, relatives and co-workers said Friday. A third was unaccounted for.
Jim Gulley, 64, of Frisco, and Dan Woolley, 39, of Colorado Springs, were both caught in ruins of the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince after Tuesday’s earthquake. Neither appeared to be seriously injured.
They work with different agencies and it’s not clear whether they knew each other.
Dave Hames of Colorado Springs is still unaccounted for, said Stephan Archer of Compassion International. Hames is a contract worker for the agency.
Gulley, a United Methodist minister and a consultant for the United Methodist Committee on Relief, was rescued Thursday and immediately called his family at 10:30 p.m. MST.
His son Aaron, who took the call, said he had feared his father was dead. It appears he suffered only bruises.
“I said, ‘Dad? Is that you, Dad? Is that really you?'” Aaron Gulley said.
Woolley works with a Web site team for Compassion International, a child development agency in Colorado Springs. The agency got word Thursday he had been rescued after spending 60 hours in an elevator shaft.
“The wait has been like traveling through the gates of hell,” Woolley’s wife, Christy, told KUSA-TV in Denver. “I couldn’t stand, I was afraid I couldn’t keep my heart beating and I was afraid I couldn’t breathe.”
Compassion International said Woolley was at a hospital in Miami on Friday night with some lacerations on his thigh, and his wife was on her way to Miami.
Archer said the agency has accounted for 40 of its 74 Haitians employees but still hasn’t heard about the welfare of the 64,000 children it cares for.
Jim Gulley was among five or six people trapped in a space about 3 feet high, 5 feet wide and 8 feet long, his son said.
They prayed and sang hymns, Aaron Gulley said. His father was rescued after 55 hours.
Jim Gulley told ABC News one of the trapped people passed around chewing gum and a single lollipop.
Aaron Gulley said his father told him that some of the group drank their own urine to survive.
He said his father described the ordeal as the hardest thing he’d ever been through.
Gulley’s family had received no word on whether he was alive until he called home.
Aaron Gulley, who lives in Santa Fe, N.M., said he and his brother, who lives in Denver, went to their parents’ home in Frisco to be with their mother when they heard about the earthquake.
Frisco is in the mountains about 60 miles west of Denver.
“We immediately knew that he was probably in harm’s way because we knew he was in Port-au-Prince,” the son said.
He said friends had been calling all day Thursday to ask about his father.
“When the phone rang again at 10:30, I just thought it was another one of those calls. And there’s Dad on the other end,” he said.
“Aaron? What are you doing in Frisco?” Gulley recalled his father saying.
“Dad, we thought you were dead,” his son said.
“I’m not dead yet,” the father replied.
Jim Gulley was awaiting a flight back to Colorado and could arrive as early as Friday, his son said.
United Methodist Church spokeswoman Linda Bloom said two other church officials from the U.S. who were with Gulley survived the collapse of the hotel. Sam Dixon was freed from the rubble and Clinton Rabb was in the process of being extricated Friday.
The church’s Web site said both had undetermined injuries. Their hometowns weren’t immediately known.
The Mercy and Sharing Foundation in Aspen was still awaiting word on the fate of its workers and the people they care for in Haiti.
Agency co-founder Joe Krabacher told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel he fears some of the group’s 146 employees may have died. He said the group also doesn’t know what happened to 32 abandoned and disabled children the foundation cares for.