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Stranded in Greencastle

Thursday, April 22, 2010

English family awaits clear skies back home

(Photo)
Anne Phipps of Greencastle, left front, opened her home to Anita and, back from left, Colin, Alan and Mark Swetman, when the family's plane was grounded due to the volcanic ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull. The family came to the United States from England for a weeklong trip, but has been stranded for an additional 10 days.
GREENCASTLE -- It could be worse.

Stranded in the United States, the Swetman family has tried to make the best of a bad situation. Anita and Alan, along with their two children, Mark, 20, and Colin, 23, traveled to the US from Horscham, England for a family wedding in Pennsylvania. What was supposed to be a weeklong vacation has turned into a nearly two-week nightmare.

Since the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano on April 14, 95,000 flights around the world have been canceled including the Swetman's plane home.

"We are some of the lucky ones," said Alan. "Some people had to wait it out in airports and hotels. We had the means to rent a car and have a place to stay."

The Swetmans were given Hoosier hospitality by Greencastle resident Anne Phipps. Anne's daughter, Becky Barham, met Alan when she took part in the People to People program at the age of 16 and traveled to many destinations including Europe.

"In 1972, Becky came to stay with my family and we have kept in touch ever since," explained Alan.

Alan's first trip to the U.S. was in 1975, when he and his family stayed in Indianapolis and he returned again in 1994 with his wife and kids. Since then, he has made several trips to the U.S., but mostly for business or to run a marathon -- which he was supposed to do back home on Sunday.

This trip to the U.S., however, has been much different from all the others. The Associated Press reported on Tuesday London's airports were still closed due to the lingering volcanic ash; a massive flight backlog was growing; and scientist feared history could repeat itself with yet another volcanic eruption in Iceland.

Through it all, the Swetman family has remained positive even though Alan and Anita had to take additional time off from work, Mark, a third year student at Coventry University in England, has missed study time for his upcoming finals and Colin has missed out on fundraising events for Help for Heroes, a charity for soldiers returning from Afghanistan that he supports.

When Colin returns to the area in June, he and a friend will be bicycling their way across the U.S. and along the "Old National Road," as part of Hope for Heroes.

While in Indiana, the family will visit Indianapolis and spend time with their longtime friend Becky. They will depart from Greencastle tomorrow in hopes of getting a flight home.

"We were due to fly out on the 15th, but now it's going to be the 25th," said Alan. "We looked for other ways home, but there were none."

The Swetmans extended a great-big thank you to Anne for putting them up in her abode at the last minute.


Comments
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who says theres no nice people left

-- Posted by 5catsondrugs on Thu, Apr 22, 2010, at 6:45 AM

nightmarish? Hardly!

-- Posted by exhoosier2 on Thu, Apr 22, 2010, at 7:12 AM

Stranded in Greencastle? My sympathies.

-- Posted by whatsup on Thu, Apr 22, 2010, at 10:26 AM

Greencastle may not be the best place to be stranded,but there are a whole lot worse places to be!!!!

-- Posted by obeone on Thu, Apr 22, 2010, at 10:30 AM

I have been stranded in an airport and being stranded in Greencastle is not a nightmare compared to an airport. I have read stories of people in N.Y. taking strangers home with them from the airport. There are a lot of good people. We usually just hear about the bad ones.

-- Posted by Abigailone on Thu, Apr 22, 2010, at 10:43 AM

Why is Greencastle a NIGHTMARE?! we live here...it isn't a nightmare!

-- Posted by luv2bmom2001 on Fri, Apr 23, 2010, at 4:30 PM

I don't think that they meant being in Greencastle was a nightmare. I think the fact that they are having to put their normal life on hold and can't get home is the nightmare. Alan and Anita had to take off additional time from work, (more than likely without pay) Mark is missing study time for his upcoming college finals and Colin is missing some fund raising events he was a part of. Two weeks is a lot of time to be stranded from getting home. Reread the article, some of you are jumping to a defense that doesn't even exist.

-- Posted by thatslife on Tue, Apr 27, 2010, at 3:13 PM


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