Chicago area residents back safely from Mumbai

November 29, 2008 11:16:18 PM PST
A number of Chicago area residents returned home Saturday after being guests in Mumbai's Taj Mahal hotel when the India terror attacks occurred. Friends and family members greeted them as they arrived at O'Hare airport.

Ron and Alyta Reicin of Highland Park had to leave their luggage behind, but they said they were just thankful to be okay.

Judy Hevrdejs of Chicago was at the pool when the shooting began. She spent Wednesday night in a meeting room before escaping the hotel early the next morning.

"We were one of the last groups of ten to get out of there before there was shooting behind us. We ran about four or five blocks to get on buses. [They} transferred us to hotels and we've been sort of locked up and working with consulates ever since," she said.

"I saw some fire engines, and I took a flashlight out and shined like that. And they saw me and brought a hook and ladder up and broke the window, and we climbed out," Ron Reicin of Highland Park said.

"We are very happy to be safe and to be alive, and we are very, very thankful. We are also extremely, extremely lucky because not everybody made it out," Alyta Reicin said.

"I was going to kiss the ground, but you guys are here," Hevrdejs said to reporters at the airport.

Joe and Marilyn Ernsteen of Deerfield also were trapped inside the Taj Mahal hotel overnight. The couple arrived safely at O'Hare Saturday.


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