Kamloops couple's Mexican vacation shaken by earthquake - InfoNews

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Kamloops couple's Mexican vacation shaken by earthquake

Darryl Chow and his wife Rina Muzio pose for a photo after arriving in Mexico City. A few weeks later on Sept. 19 they would be stranded for hours in that same terminal due to an earthquake.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Darryl Chow
September 22, 2017 - 2:53 PM

KAMLOOPS - When we look back on the summer of 2017, many of us will remember the wildfires that tore through the province. But for Kamloops residents Darryl Chow and Rina Muzio the fires were just the beginning of their run-ins with Mother Nature's wrath.

Chow, a retired high school teacher and his wife Rina traveled to Mexico City a couple weeks ago to visit their daughter. They flew out of Vancouver on Aug. 29 with a connection in Houston, a few days after the city was hit by Hurricane Harvey.

He says when the flight to Houston was cancelled they ended up stuck in Los Angeles for a night before flying to Mexico City the next day.

Other than some heavy rain and a couple of near misses from hurricanes, Chow says the three week Mexican visit went according to plan.

Things took another turn for the worse when Mexico City was hit by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday, Sept. 19 on their final day in the country.

This was the scene at Chow's daughter's home in Mexico City after the earthquake hit.
This was the scene at Chow's daughter's home in Mexico City after the earthquake hit.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Darryl Chow

Chow and his wife were in the airport waiting for their flight home when it hit.

"I had never felt anything like that," he says. "Just seconds before it hit there was this very loud rumble, like a semi-trailer coming too close to the building. Then the shaking, it's really hard to describe, but it's just like the entire world is violently shaking and people are screaming and things are falling over. And it just wouldn't stop."

With no one injured, and the airport was still standing, Chow feels he and his wife were very fortunate.

"Talk about luck. We went to the airport four hours early even though for international flights they say to be there three hours early," he says. "Had we waited we might have been in trouble because of the roads being closed and the airport shut down."

Adding to the couple's luck was they had made it to a ground-floor lounge before the tremors started. This meant there was food and water nearby which came in handy as they would spend the next five hours trying to get out of Mexico.

"The elevator shut down immediately," he says. "All the emergency lights went on and there was a stairwell up from this lounge to the main waiting area so people were just piling up that stairwell. My wife and didn't want to go through that so we just braced ourselves against a wall in case there were aftershocks."

He says the whole experience was surreal.

"As things were calming down a bit, this very elderly Mexican fellow stood on his chair with a glass of tequila and made a toast. I don't know if he was toasting the end of the world or that we had survived. It was just crazy because there were still people crying and screaming all around him."

Chow says it was like playing the lottery trying to get a flight out, but they managed to get a flight to Dallas, Texas that night.

"We arrived at midnight and the flight to Vancouver didn't leave until nine in the morning so we slept in the airport in Dallas," he says. "It wasn't very comfortable obviously but it felt a lot safer. At least the ground wasn't moving."

That was the end of the ordeal for the pair as the flight left the next morning without a hitch and they drove home to Kamloops last night, Sept. 21.

"I've made that flight many times but to finally see Vancouver and Canada, I just thought thank God."

So what's next for the couple who are thanking their lucky stars for having survived the quake in Mexico? They are travelling to Chile next, one of the most earthquake prone countries in the world.

Chow says he plans to pack a helmet.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Mike McDonald or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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