Soldiers rescue stranded Cdn students from mission outside Port-au-Prince

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Sage Fouguette knew nothing about Haiti when she and 16 other British Columbia teens arrived there on a mission to set up a goat farm, just a few scant hours before a devastating earthquake struck.
Stranded for five days and struggling to survive in the midst of death and destruction, has left the students traumatized, but they say it's also helped build a deep bond with the people of Haiti.
"They're like brothers and sisters," said Fouguette, who was among a group of 35 people, 17 students, 17 adults and 1 infant, who were rescued by Canadian soldiers on Sunday.
The Prime Minister's Office said they were taken to the Canadian embassy in Port-au-Prince to be checked over.
The students boarded a plane and were expected back in Montreal early Monday.
The students and their adult chaperones from the Slocan Valley in southeastern B.C. arrived in Haiti on Tuesday.
Another student, Owen Spears, 17, said Haitians had nothing before the quake.
"Now they have less than that."
He said that while the ground was shaking he kept thinking "hopefully we don't die."
However, he didn't really think about it much afterwards.
"I was just kind of in shock," Spears said.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay told a news conference in Ottawa that a Canadian CH-146 Griffon helicopter assisted in moving some members of the group. Others were evacuated by two buses overland.
Norm Ouellet, whose son Blake is part of the group, said in an interview from his home in B.C. that Sunday was the first day parents had heard from their kids since they left on their trip.
His son Blake called home and talked with his brother.
Ouellet says from what he's hearing they were "very traumatized."
The security wall to the compound, in Grand Goave, about 44 kilometres outside the capital of Port-au-prince, was demolished the night of the original quake and they were sleeping outside.
"They were witnessing some deaths and also severe injuries and I believe it continued throughout the week," Ouellet said.
Despite their fear, the students continued to help the Haitians as much as they could.
"They worked with a lot of Haitian kids, they cleared rubble, and they bought the Haitians about 1,800 kilograms of rice" from the money they'd brought with them on the trip.

Geographic location: Port-au-Prince, Haiti, British Columbia Montreal Slocan Valley Southeastern B.C. Ottawa Grand Goave Port

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