Local News

Franklin County man survives Chile earthquake

Posted February 27, 2010 10:45 p.m. EST
Updated February 28, 2010 9:58 a.m. EST

— A Franklin County family was relieved to learn Saturday that one of their loved ones survived an earthquake in Chile.

Donnie Ferrell, 61, works for Turbine Generator Maintenance. He and three other employees were helping to upgrade a paper mill near the capital of Santiago when the quake hit 200 miles away.

Angela McIlvain, Ferrell's daughter, spent Saturday trying to get a message to her dad.

“We were very concerned. We hadn't heard anything,” she said. “It was very frightening, especially after seeing what happened in Haiti, with the devastation that was caused there."

By late afternoon, McIlvain heard from her father's coworker, who said they were OK.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said 1.5 million people had been affected by the quake, and officials in her administration said 500,000 homes were severely damaged.

With so much destruction, McIlvain said her father will likely stay in Chile to help with recovery.

“Since they are experts in helping with power and power restoration, he may end up staying and doing whatever they need him to do," she said.

At least 214 people were killed by the quake and 15 were missing as of Saturday evening, Bachelet said.