Nepal earthquake survivor returns home to Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago-area man who was trapped on a mountain in Nepal following a deadly earthquake has returned home.

Corey Ascolani couldn't get off the Midway Airport escalator fast enough as he was met by his very relieved family and friends. The 34-year-old survivor says it's going to take a while to get used to being back home.

"I didn't know how stressed I was until I was out of it, and the more time that passes, the more I realize how close and lucky I am," Ascolani said.

Traveling on a three-month visa, the Palos Hills native had been away for about a month when the earthquake hit, hiking in the Himalayas. He and several other trekkers were stuck in the mountains for five days before they were rescued by American military helicopters.

"I noticed, I was quite calm during the whole thing, but what I learned more was little things don't matter," Ascolani said.

Surviving in very dangerous conditions was the only thing that mattered. Back home, his family was anything but calm.

"We didn't know if he was alive or dead," said Christine Breger, Ascolani's mother.

Breger says it took two days before she learned he was alive; then her focus turned to rescuing him.

"There was a lot of pent up emotions, you don't realize how stressed you are until it's released," Breger said.

And now that Ascolani is back home, Breger says all she wants to do is hold him. He knows coming back was the right thing to do.

"I left here not too long go, but after something like that I feel I needed to see friends, family," Ascolani said.

Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.