St. Joe's students return home from Japan

March 14, 2011 8:58:36 AM PDT
The days since the quake have been incredibly tense for some local people who were in Japan when the earthquake struck.

40 students who are taking part in Saint Joseph's University's executive MBA program returned home overnight. They traveled to Shanghai, Beijing and then Tokyo for their trip. They said it was a wonderful, educational journey.

Then the earthquake hit and their nightmare began as they tried desperately to get home.

John Feret held his daughter, Toni Marie, close. He spent the last few days watching television coverage and worried sick as his daughter and her classmates tried to get home.

"I was scared. I was very scared," the Brigantine resident told Action News early Monday morning. "I was worried about meltdowns. I was worried about the water."

The students were on their final visit to a Tokyo company, on the top floor of a high rise when the earthquake shook.

"It felt like you were on the subway," Love Mccune, a St. Joe's graduate student said. "Not holding onto the rails. Very scary. It was surreal."

Vernessa Hopkins was also reunited with her family overnight. She broke down in tears and she described the classmates' ordeal first experiencing the quake and then trying to get home.

"It was aftershock after aftershock. One a 7 magnitude."

Now they're home safe and sound with their families and will never forget their traumatic trip to Japan.

The students tell Action News that the trip to Tokyo's airport -- which normally takes an hour - took them 10 hours. They missed flight after flight and even considered getting on a boat bound for Hawaii.

Finally, days later, they arrived home safe and sound this morning. They told Action News that it would be 'a little while' before they travel overseas again.

RELATED: Search the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) site to see if loved ones in the quake zone have checked in to say they are okay

RELATED: To help, visit and donate to Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami. You can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the recovery effort

RELATED: Watch videos of the earthquake and tsunami as they happened in Japan

Emergency Information

For emergency information, assistance, and locating family in connection with earthquake in Japan:

Phone numbers in US and Japan:

202 559 4683
800 373 1110
0570 000 911
011 81 90 7170 4769
011 81 90 3080 6711