Monday, January 7, 2008

Blackwater Rescues Volunteers


The Grand Rapids Press has reported that three American orphanage workers in Kenya - Aubrie Vander Mey, 19, Jamie Cook, 20, and Brittanie Vander Mey, 21 (pictured above) - were rescued from post-election violence by Blackwater Worldwide.

[Dean] Vander Mey [Brittanie and Aubrie's father] said he started calling government officials, congressmen -- whomever he could think of to get his daughters and their friend home.

"I was not getting whole lot of answers," he said. "They said, 'Stay safe; don't move.' I wasn't satisfied with the 'stay put.' That's what they were telling us: 'You're in harm's way, but don't move.'"

Hiring a helicopter wasn't an option. Vander Mey said he was told it would $20,000 to rent one for 30 minutes, and news stations and the Red Cross had already rented most of those available.

Vander Mey said he recalled relatives were friends with the family of Blackwater founder and Holland native Erik Prince and decided to give the company a call.

"They had internal contacts and everything," Vander Mey said. "They had people who could help."

He said Blackwater lined up a 10-person plane, rescued the women and other international workers and flew them to Nairobi. The three women then began the trip to Grand Rapids on Sunday afternoon.
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