NC woman on mission trip to Honduras can’t get home; family asks Sen. Tillis for help

NC woman on mission trip to Honduras can?t get home; family asks Sen. Tillis for help

CHARLOTTE — A woman from North Carolina who has been volunteering her time helping the people of Honduras says she is now stuck in the Central American country.

The coronavirus is just starting to spread into Central America and Cynthia Russell’s family is concerned because she is at a higher risk.

[SPECIAL SECTION: TRACKING CORONAVIRUS]

Content Continues Below

Channel 9 reporter Tina Terry spoke with Russell’s family in Charlotte, which is pleading for help from U.S. leaders.

A spokesperson for Sen. Thom Tillis told Channel 9 he has been working to help Russell get back home safely. That spokesperson said Tillis' office has received dozens of calls for help from people who are stuck overseas in the midst of the crisis.

Russell’s son sent a letter to Tillis saying Cynthia, a North Carolinian, went to Honduras on a mission trip to help several orphanages.

"It’s such an isolated part of Honduras, a lot of good people there, but as far as medical facilities or anything like that,” Clayton Russell said.

But the COVID-19 pandemic left her trapped in a remote area with no way to get out and all flights were canceled.

“She realized the next flight out scheduled was a month-and-a-half from now and that she’d be in isolation,” Clayton said. “That set the wheels in motion, that we needed to act.”

Her son told Tillis he was concerned because his mother is 67 years old, which puts her in the high-risk category for the virus.

He asked the senator to help find a way to get her out of that country.

Today, via email, Tillis' office said they are aware of the situation and talking directly with Russell’s family.

Clayton wants his mother to get to a larger city and on a plane with other missionaries, who will depart for Kansas City Wednesday.

"Having her on that plane, getting her home – it really didn’t seem like there were going to be a whole lot of other options over the next two weeks,” Clayton said.

A spokesperson for Tillis said he has been working to help dozens of other North Carolina residents in this same situation get back to the US.

A spokesperson for Tillis said the senator has been working to help dozens of other North Carolina residents in this same situation get back to the US.

2020 Olympics postponed due to coronavirus