Nova Scotia men return home after being stranded in Peru
HALIFAX -- Three Halifax men are happy to be back on Canadian soil after being stranded in Peru for 10 days due to the country going into lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ian Melanson, Jordan Taggart and Neal Andreino are back on Canadian soil, after being stuck in Peru.
"We left yesterday, probably around 12 o'clock. We flew out of the military airbase because Lima airport was completely shut down. So, we left on the third Air Canada flight out of Peru, so it was the last one of this week,” said Taggart.
Ian, Jordan and Neal were on a hiking trip in Peru when the country closed its borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the trio stranded and their families on edge.
"He and a couple of his friends, like many other Canadians, had long planned to go see Machu Picchu,” said Anne Melanson, Ian’s mother. “They left at the beginning of March before there was an advisory warning against travel to Peru. And when the Canadian government issued a call for Canadians to begin the process of returning home, they booked flights right away but then without any warning the government of Peru closed all of its borders and shut down all of its roads, on about 12 hours notice. So, everybody ended up getting trapped."
"We were fortunate enough, we had a really nice hotel and the staff was really accommodating, so, we were able to send them out to get supplies for us,” said Ian Melanson.”We were stuck within the walls of the hotel but there was a little bit of a yard there, so we were able to get out and a little fresh air and that kind of thing."
After a stressful 10 days, the men touched down in Halifax on Saturday and went directly into self-isolation.
"It was really nice to hop off the plane and just see the familiar ground and be back in Canada and also know all the rules and laws and feel safe to be able to go outside, so that was really kind of a relief,” said Neal Andreino.
"A guy that Ian and Jordan work with on the fire department, he has a place in Lunenburg that they're gonna stay at. He's letting them stay there for two weeks. So, that's where they're going to be holed up, down there,” said Greg Melanson, Ian’s father.
"It's great just to have him home,” said Jack Melanson. "Everything's settled and he's not halfway across the world."
Although they won’t be able to be with their loved ones right away, the men’s families dropped off a truck loaded with the supplies they’ll need while in a mandatory 14 day isolation.
"There's three of them down there you know, three grown boys, so there's no shortage of food. I think, Jordan's mother I think went a little overboard,” Greg said laughing.
Now back in their home province, the men are thankful for all the support they received.
"There's been a lot, a lot of people that have been involved and we just want to say thanks to everyone for everything you've done,” said Andreino.
"Yeah, we were very flattered by the outpouring of support. It’s been pretty overwhelming,” said Ian Melanson. “Can't say thanks enough.”