Flight 882: Returning Chicagoans reflect on experiences during Japan's earthquake

March 18, 2011

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

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(Photo by AP)
Passengers at Narita Airport, Saturday March 12

Today marks the one week anniversary of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. This past week, Chicago media swarmed O’Hare airport to grab interviews and sound bites from people returning from Japan. The first flight (United 882) arrived from Tokyo on Saturday March 12th. 

Three passengers from that flight avoided the flashing bulbs and video cameras to reunite with their families. Erica McNamara, Elizabeth Gomez and Bob Blackburn were all part of the Rotary International Group Study Exchange that took Chicagoans to Tokyo for a full month. Their last day in Tokyo was Friday March 11th, the day of the earthquake.

They experienced the quake from their hotel, and they traveled back to Chicago the next day.  All three have spent this week acclimating themselves back into the daily grind - returning to their homes, their jobs and their lives - miles away from Tokyo Japan.

Now that the travelers have had time to reflect on the events of last Friday, they’ve opened up to tell their stories.

This piece was produced by WBEZ’s Justin Kaufmann