Frisco’s Jim Gulley rescued from destroyed hotel in Haiti
January 15, 2010
Jim Gulley, the Frisco mission worker missing in Haiti, was rescued from the destroyed Hotel Montana Thursday and is on his way home. According to Gulley’s sister Marla, he spent 55 hours trapped in the rubble before being dug out by French firefighters on the scene. The hotel was destroyed in Tuesday’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit near the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and which is believed to have killed tens of thousands of people.
“He was just there to meet people for dinner,” Marla Gulley said in a phone call from her home in Northern Italy Friday. “They walked through the lobby on their way to have a drink on the balcony when it hit.”
Marla Gulley said she thought her brother being near the outside of the hotel when the earthquake hit may have contributed to the fact that he was not injured badly and was near the top, able to be rescued.
According to Jen Judge, wife of Gulley’s son Aaron, Gulley called his Frisco home within minutes of being rescued around 10:30 p.m. Thursday.
“It was shocking to hear his voice,” Judge said. “We were expecting to hear from the State Department or something. After 48 hours, we were fearing the worst.”
But then, Judge said, the phone rang and she heard her husband say “Dad? Dad!”
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“And we were all screaming and yelling,” Judge said. “We couldn’t believe it was him.”
Judge said Gulley told them he was hoping to be on a flight home as early as today, and the family was on stand-by to pick him up at the Denver airport as soon as his flight was confirmed.
Others in Gulley’s party were also rescued. According to an e-mail from Lord of the Mountains Church Pastor Joe Holub, Gulley colleague Clinton Rabb was freed. Another report indicated Sam Dixon was rescued Friday morning.
According to Marla Gulley, her brother had an ongoing development project in Haiti, and visited regularly. She said he was meeting with members of the international Methodist church group that aids in development in Haiti, as well as other members of various non-governmental organizations.
Gulley appeared on Good Morning America this morning: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/
On camera, Gulley had a bandage on one hand and appeared to have some cuts and scrapes but looked otherwise OK.
“We’re very fortunate to be alive,” Gulley told Good Morning America.