'The floor was rippling,' professor who survived Mexico earthquake tells story

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A firsthand account of what it was like to survive the earthquake from a University of Chicago surgeon who just returned from Mexico City. That surgeon was giving a talk in downtown Mexico City and even participated in an earthquake drill that morning.

Two hours later, the real thing hit.

Twenty-four hours after his brush with catastrophe, Dr. Ross Milner was back in Chicago on Wednesday evening.

"It didn't seem like it was going to end. The floor was rippling like, almost like you would see like ocean currents. It was unbelievable," said Dr. Ross Milner.

The University of Chicago vascular surgeon was in Mexico City as a visiting professor, speaking to doctors at one of the city's main hospitals when the massive earthquake struck.

"The most senior surgeon of the group... grabbed me by the arm and said, 'Professor, it's an earthquake. Let's go.' And the building was shaking, and as we were coming out of it, there was part of the ceiling started to collapse," said Dr. Milner.

Milner was unhurt, but as he and others poured into the street there was a word of children trapped in that school collapse nearby. Their parents rushed past.

"The really sad part was we saw people running down the street looking for their kids, which was pretty sad," said Dr. Milner.

The images of destruction have people wanting to help, but the nature of the disaster requires careful coordination.

"People here in Schaumburg, in Waukegan, in Aurora, they're calling us, and they're saying what do we do? And I'm telling them right now let's calm down. Let's wait until everything is assessed," said Netza Roland with Casa Mexico USA.

Dr. Milner said he offered to stay in Mexico to help the injured.

"The surgeon I was with... he said, 'Listen, we have so many people here to help.' This is the main disaster hospital, so they had a whole system in place," said Dr. Milner.

Dr. Milner said there was a calm strength in the way people dealt with the chaotic aftermath of the quake, a resilience that will be tested in the coming days and weeks.

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