DOUBLE ESCAPE

Andrew
Andrew

A CONCERNED Ballymoney dad has told how his son had an amazing double escape in the USA after surviving the terror of an earthquake and the devastating power of Hurricane Irene.

Well-known businessman Ivor Wallace said his 21-year-old son Andrew was caught up in the horror of a 5.8 magnitude quake which caused Washington to wobble last week.

CAUGHT UP. Abi Curry from Ballymoney, whose American flight was delayed from landing due to the runway being 'ripped up' by the earthquake.INBM35-11 046SC.

CAUGHT UP. Abi Curry from Ballymoney, whose American flight was delayed from landing due to the runway being 'ripped up' by the earthquake.INBM35-11 046SC.

And as if that was not enough to contend with, Andrew then took the brave decision to literally fly into the ‘eye of the storm’ by catching a flight to New York where he was forced to batten down the hatches and hope for the best when Hurricane Irene slammed into New York on Sunday.

Andrew was caught up in the chaos in the USA as the eastern states were first rattled by an earthquake, closely followed by the force of Hurricane Irene.

His family at home in Ballymoney anxiously kept in touch as events unfolded.

Ivor Wallace told the Times on Monday: “We have been keeping in touch with Andrew by phone, email and Facebook and we have been assured he is ok. But it has been quite some time for him in America. Not content with getting caught in an earthquake he then travelled to New York at a time when some were fleeing and he had to go through that too.”

Ivor explained that when the earthquake shook Washington and led to the evacuation of buildings, including the White House, Andrew was outside at the time near a beach and he survived the horror of the tremor unscathed.

Andrew is currently in the USA teaching website design and football and is due home at the end of September.

Added Ivor: “After Washington, Andrew flew to New York and was staying in the Bronx area of the city. He decided to travel to New York because the Bronx area was not due to have been evacuated. However, people were told to stay indoors when Hurricane Irene hit.

“Andrew has a wise head and I have no worries about him and we have been keeping in touch with him.”

During his American adventure it is understood Andrew met a lad from Boston whose uncle is one of the richest men in America, through his involvement with the delivery company, FedEx.

Meanwhile, a student at Dalriada School in Ballymoney had her return home from north America delayed by the earthquake as runways were dramatically checked for cracks.

Abi Curry spent over a fortnight in Michigan and Canada with her bestfriend Sophie Nevin and her mother Lynn. The 16-year-old enjoyed her jam-packed holiday, with many shopping sprees and visits to idyllic lakes and the countryside in Canada to visit friends.

But the trio ran into difficulty when they attempted to get a connecting flight from Detroit to Newark airport in New York, to enable them to get their cross-Atlantic plane home.

As runways were inspected for cracks Abi’s journey was delayed for five hours but eventually they managed to get a flight back to Belfast.

Abi said: “I was so happy to have made it home in time to receive my GCSE results.”