Half the members of a group on what was to be a weeklong humanitarian mission to Haiti from Florida's Lynn University are unaccounted for in the wake of Tuesday's earthquake.
The dozen students and two faculty members from the Boca Raton school arrived in Haiti only hours before the temblor hit. Their hotel in Port au Prince collapsed.
Seven of the students are safe in the U.S. embassy, but the whereabouts other five and the two faculty members are unknown.
When they first heard their daughter, Julie, 21, was among the missing, Joan and Steve Prudhomme felt "pure terror and panic, actually," Joan told "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith from the family home in East Greenwich, Rhode Island Thursday. "Your heart drops in your chest and you're desperate for any type of news. You have no idea what's going on, where she is, is she safe. And the group -- it's a feeling of unspeakable anxiety. We hope we never go through it again."
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The U.S. embassy sent Steve and Joan an e-mail on Julie's behalf saying she's OK.
"We were ecstatic," Joan said. "A lot of tears, a lot of joy. But of course, that's all tempered with anxiety over the rest of the group -- we still have not received word about the remaining people."
The waiting was filled with anxiety, Steve noted. "Just the not knowing where she is and what she's doing and what's going on," was tough, he said.
It is, says Joan, a "feeling you wanna jump on a plane and get there to help her, but you know there's just no way and you're a million miles away. It's Julie, but it's also the group she's with and all the other people there. It's just unbelievable the devastations that country has experienced, and we're just so thankful we've heard she's safe, but it's still really difficult to think that there are other people out there in her group who are still unaccounted for and we hope we get good news on that today."
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