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Arlington woman found alive after Haitian earthquake

Katherine Zook, right, is recovering is a Florida hospital after being injured in the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti. - Courtesy photo
Katherine Zook, right, is recovering is a Florida hospital after being injured in the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

ARLINGTON — An Arlington High School graduate doing missionary work in Haiti was found alive in the bottom of a collapsed building Wednesday, Jan. 13.

Katherine Zook, 22, suffered bruises to her lungs and legs during an earthquake Tuesday, Jan. 12, but did not suffer any life-threatening injuries, said her father, Greg Zook, during a phone interview.

Greg Zook said that his daughter was in Port-Au-Prince when a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti. Preliminary reports indicate that perhaps more than 100,000 people may be dead.

Greg Zook said that learned at about 1 a.m. Wednesday that Katherine had been found in the building she was teaching English at in the Haitian capital.

Katherine Zook was apparently found buried in rubble approximately three hours after the quake. Upon her being found, Zook was taken to a United Nations hospital in Haiti, and Greg Zook said that she was transferred to the U.S. Embassy and has since been airlifted to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba by U.S. officials.

Zook said neither he or his wife have been able to talk with their daughter as of Wednesday afternoon.

“As soon as we hear that she is stateside, we’ll fly to meet her,” Greg Zook said. “They may med-evac her to Washington state.”

Katherine Zook graduated from Arlington High School in 2005. She attended Northwest Nazarene University, studying music. She began her two-year stint as a missionary in Haiti in September 2009.

Greg Zook said his daughter and he had made several trips to Haiti in the past.

He said that there were still other missionary workers in his daughter’s group that have not been accounted for.

Greg Zook said his family called U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen when they heard of Katherine’s condition, and Zook said that Larsen helped get Katherine’s name registered through the state department and the U.S. Embassy.

“If nothing else, it gave us piece of mind that she was on the radar,” Zook said, adding that Larsen had called to check in on the family Wednesday afternoon.

Katherine Zook’s long-time friend, Vanessa McClure, said that Katherine had been on a lot of residents’ minds.

“We were all thinking about her right away,” McClure said about the earthquake. “(Tuesday) there was no news on her so everyone was praying and talking back and forth. We’re all just really happy to hear that she’s OK.”

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