“I’ve been up all night worrying,” Lutsko told CNN Saturday from her home in Columbus, Ohio. “I will be very happy to hear that she is back on American soil.”
Lutsko says her daughter, Madison Spellman, a graduate student and travel nurse, was at a coffee shop when a group of protesters took to the streets. Employees locked the doors and encouraged everyone to get down, Spellman told her mom.
Lutsko said she texted the White House and the US Embassy to ask for help in bringing her daughter home.
“I feel helpless,” she said.
Next week, Lutsko expects family to come from out of town for the holidays. Spellman was supposed to fly to Ohio on Christmas Eve to be with her loved ones.
“This is our chance to see and spend time with him,” Lutsko said. “Right now we’re just waiting to see if she’ll be able to make that flight.”
“You can start to see the panic in some”
Brian Vega is among those stuck in Aguas Calientes, a town that serves as the main entry point to Machu Picchu. As the days pass with those trapped still unable to leave, Vega says some are starting to panic.
Vega, who has been on a solo trip since November 28, was due to leave the city on Tuesday, the day the demonstrations began.
“It’s been an evolving situation,” he told CNN. “You can start to see the panic in some.”
There has been talk of a lack of food and water, as well as an apparent lack of medicine, he said.
Vega, a Miami-Dade fire-rescue captain, says he’s trying to stay level and may try to get out of town like others have in recent days.
The trip would be an 18-mile hike along the train tracks, which Vega says he’s heard many have successfully completed. His plan after that would be transportation to the airport.
Vega has been in contact with many at home, including his colleagues at the fire department, who he says are doing everything they can to bring him home.
Like many others, Vega hopes to return home in time to spend Christmas with his family.
“I love Christmas, my kids and my wife,” said the father of two. “It hurts, so hopefully I’ll be back.”