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National News

January 13, 2010

US husband saves wife trapped in Haiti rubble

NEW YORK (AP) — A young American aid worker — trapped for about 10 hours under the rubble of her mission house that was destroyed in Haiti's earthquake — has been rescued by her husband.

Frank Thorp told CBS's "The Early Show" by phone from Haiti on Wednesday that he drove 100 miles to Port-au-Prince once he learned of the quake, and dug for over an hour to free his wife, Jillian, and her co-worker Charles Dietsch. The two were trapped under about a foot of concrete, he said.

"It was absolutely terrifying," Thorp said.

Thorp said he was in an area about 6 hours north of the capital when the temblor struck. He got a quick call from his wife telling him she was trapped, and that was all. So he began his long drive toward the devastation.

Meanwhile, the woman's father said, other colleagues were feverishly working to dig the two out as she directed them where to focus the search.

Arriving at the destroyed house, Thorp said he saw his wife's hand from under the rubble and heard her tell him to keep it together and just get her out.

"We had to pull bricks and bricks and bricks and wood and doors and metal away for at least an hour before we were able to get her and her co-worker out," he said.

Clay Cook, the woman's father, told CNN his son-in-law drove through the night and pitched in for the final hour.

"He literally lifted her out of the hole when they finally got her free," Cook said.

Thorp is the son of retired Rear Adm. Frank Thorp, who retired in August as the Navy's chief information officer.

The executive director of Haitian Ministries for the Diocese of Norwich, Conn., Emily Smack, told CBS a security guard at the mission house is still missing. A housecleaner had severe injuries and may lose both legs, she said.

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