Florida State student stuck for weeks in Peru returns to Tallahassee

By  | 

By: Katie Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News
April 3, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A Florida State University student who was stranded in Peru for weeks after the government abruptly closed its borders has returned safely home to Tallahassee.

Erica Henry and her father had just arrived in the South American country when President Martín Vizcarra decided to close its borders after the first cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed. The Peruvian government provided 24-hours for tourists to leave the country, but for hundreds of people, it was not enough time.

Many Americans, included more than two-dozen people from Tallahassee, were trapped. A local church group was on one of the first chartered flights to come home, but Henry had to wait 19 days before she received word from the U.S. Embassy that she had been booked on a flight to Miami.

She arrived back in the capital city Friday afternoon. She said she would be required to pay for the flight, but had not yet been informed of how much it would cost.

By: Katie Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News
March 23, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Last week, WCTV told you about more than two dozens Tallahassee residents who were stuck in Peru. Most of them are now home, but others aren't so lucky.

After the COVID-19 outbreak, hundreds of Americans were suddenly stranded in the country after it's president abruptly closed it's borders.

25 people from a Tallahassee church are back home Monday night.

"There was some celebration on the plane, for sure, that we were all back in the U.S. safe and sound," said All Nations Church pastor, Steve Dow.

Dow and his grandson, Connor, were part of the group, who were evacuated by police escort. Then, on a state department-chartered flight to D.C.

"Thank you for helping us get home," said Connor.

Meanwhile, back in Peru...

"We've all accepted we're going to be here for a bit," said Florida State senior Erica Henry.

Henry remains holed up in a small hotel with her father and other Americans.

Her story is a little more complicated than the church group's, due in-part to a 20-hour bus ride that separates her from the embassy.

"I'm trying not to stress, but I am stressing," Henry said.

The hotel guests have taken to yoga, salsa dancing and Tai Chi for relief.

Our story last week helped her connect with officials; Henry says she's been in touch with Marco Rubio's office.

"He gave me paperwork to fill out, which I shared with other guests," she said.

Their cases are now being processed.

Henry says Senator Rubio's office reached out to her on Monday to let her know they're still working on her case.

The All Nations Church group says they do not have to quarantine.