MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Three Auburn University at Montgomery students are now trapped in Guatemala after the coronavirus outbreak caused their return flight to be canceled.
When Evan Mott, Matthew Taunton, and Eric Johnson boarded a plane headed to Guatemala, they thought it’d be a nice spring break trip.
“We thought that we were good. They didn’t even shut anything down here until, what, the second or third day, third day so we were just fine here. Everything was good. We get to the beach and they tell us everything shut down,” Mott said.
The landed in Guatemala on March 13 and were supposed to return on March 21, but that didn’t happen.
“There’s no buses out, no cabs, anything. So we were going to be stuck here and the borders were shutting for two weeks, at least. No one can leave, no one can come in,” Mott said. “So the government was offering charter flights and you had to pay a promissory note. We signed up the first day we could, all of us, and were promised at some point we would get a flight. They had over 1000 people get out, 1000 Americans, and we were not selected.”
Evan and Matthew are in the National Guard and are concerned about not having a specific date when they may be able to return. Based on the information they have right now, they may be stuck in Guatemala until available flight in May.
“We just found an apartment here, and we’re splitting between the three of us. So for right now we’re good. But like I said, it’s changing every day around the world like it is there. So it is a little scary,” Mott said.
As for now, they've been contacting Alabama leaders for help.
“We’ve been just contacting our local leaders, secretaries, state representatives, senators; our parents have been doing the same. So we’re just been contacting them using WiFi and our cell phones here,” Taunton said.
A representative from Gov. Kay Ivey’s office told WSFA that Rep. Martha Roby has been “engaged and working on resolving the situation.” We have reached out to Rep. Roby and received the following response:
“Rep. Roby’s office is actively engaged with all constituents who have contacted her office for help with returning back to the U.S.”