PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Eva Lucas went through a mother’s hell.
“Please just tell me if my daughter’s name is on the list,” she pleaded Wednesday afternoon with an operator at Ross University in Florida.
Her daughter, 26-year-old Erica Green, is slated to graduate from the Ross University School of Medicine on the island of Dominica in December. Dominica took a direct hit from Hurricane Maria on Monday. Lucas was on the phone with the school on and off all day trying to learn the fate of her child.
“What about the rescue efforts?” she asked the school’s operator. “Because I know she was still in her apartment the last time I spoke to her.”
Erica is an honors graduate from Oliver High School, a scholarship grad from Penn State, and she earned her Masters from Drexel before heading off to medical school in Dominica. Twice on the Dean’s List, Erica is in the accelerated program and even tutoring some of her fellow medical students.
Monday, as Hurricane Maria arrived on the mountainous island, Erica was in her apartment and on the phone with her mother throughout the day.
“We started communicating about 6 o’clock that morning and she told me the storm was just coming in and that she was OK,” Eva said.
Their conversations continued throughout the day until the last call around 6 o’clock that evening.
“She just said the winds were so bad and it had started to crack the windows,” Eva said. “I asked her if she could get to the main campus, and she said no, the winds were too great. She told me the only area in her apartment that didn’t have windows was the bathroom. So I told her if push comes to shove, go in the bathroom, close the door and cover yourself up.”
Eva didn’t hear from her daughter for about 48 hours after that phone call.
All the Ross University students are required to check in on the campus every afternoon at 3 o’clock. Through her tears, Eva said Erica did not check in Tuesday. The University has a single satellite phone on the island campus they’ve been using to report in to the school’s Florida main campus. The last call was made just after midnight and Erica’s name was not the list of students accounted for by the school.
To Eva, the unknown and the silence coming from Dominica was deafening.
“Every hour I want to call her,” she said with tears streaming down her face. “I love my child so much and right now this hurts. It’s unbearable, just unbearable.”
But Eva Lucas’s day of agony came to an end just after 6 p.m. Wednesday when Ross University called to say Erica had been found alive and well. Eva doesn’t know the details of what her daughter went through, those will come after she’s evacuated with the rest of the students by boat Thursday to St. Lucia.