Chicago-area couple gets out of Egypt amid chaos

January 31, 2011 6:39:28 PM PST
As the unrest in Egypt builds, one million people are expected to march in the streets of Cairo Tuesday.

Protests continued Monday despite a curfew imposed by the government. Demonstrators are calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down. Many blame him for widespread poverty, inflation and government corruption.

Mubarek swore in a new cabinet Monday in n an effort to appease the protesters.

At Cairo's airport, there was anger and frustration as people try to get flights out of the country.

Some people from the Chicago area are among those able to get out of Egypt include

The world has been monitoring the ongoing protests in Cairo, and it's been a difficult time for people in Chicago with loved ones in the region. Some have managed to escape, while others hope they can leave now that evacuation efforts are underway.

"I've never learned as much or been so involved in such a world crisis like this before," said Ron Kelley.

Kelley kept a close watch on the events in Cairo the past week because his parents were there. Diana and Gaynor Kelley were on a vacation in the region and landed in Cairo just as violent protests escalated. They were stranded there nearly three days.

"We started seeing more and more feeds out of Cairo, and it really got out of control there and that's when I think we all started to really get concerned on our Chicago end," said Kelley.

Kelley says his mom and dad, 65 and 79 years old respectively, are experienced travelers. But he was relieved when they got a commercial flight out to Switzerland with the help of Egyptian tour guides.

"Without their help, we would not have been able to maneuver the system. They waited for us until we got through security, and if they saw the flight was cancelled they waited for us and took us to another airline. This would go on all day in the midst of chaos," said Diana Kelley.

The chaos continues in Egypt as thousands of foreigners are trying to escape the unrest. The U.S. State Department has already evacuated more than 1,200 Americans.

Regina Fraser, one of the stars of the PBS show Grannies on Safari, waiting for word on whether she'll get out.

"It's been one of the most unsettling trips that I've ever had. You leave the country and there are protestors all over the world and you know you're going to be safe, but the draw of Egypt is so wonderful that you're going to come anyway," said Regina Fraser, Grannies on Safari.

Fraser is aware that the U.S. State Department has organized flights out of Cairo. She is hundreds of miles away in Luxor.