By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A youth mission group sponsored by the Archdiocese of Baltimore will return home Wednesday night after being stranded in Haiti following violent protests over fuel prices led to canceled flights.

The group of 12 was stuck in Haiti for days in the middle of violent, deadly protests that were sparked by the government’s attempt to raise fuel prices.

The group is made up of people from ages 16 to 20, along with three adults, and they were supposed to be in Haiti for just a week after taking time out of their summer to help with local children.

Dozens of fires, looting and days of pandemonium broke out in Haiti, turning parts of the country into a war zone over the weekend. The youth mission group from Baltimore found themselves in the middle of the chaos.

The group was conducting work similar to a vacation bible school, but when it was time to leave Saturday, deadly riots erupted.

Flights were then canceled, forcing several U.S. volunteers to remain in a country engulfed in turmoil, including the archdioceses.

“Had we had any sense that there was a potential for this, I think it’s safe to say the trip would not have occurred,” said Sean Caine, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

A second attempt to leave Monday was quickly brought to a halt, with roads to get to the airport blocked by burning tires.

“They were pretty much staying at the compound, which is a secure compound. They have guards there 24 hours out of the day, their own power source” Caine said. “The kids have been in good hands. The adults on the trip have done a great job of calming them, relaxing them and reassuring them they’re not in any danger.”

Now that the outrage finally settled, the group is expected to make it back on U.S. soil Wednesday night.

Despite the heart-pounding moments, it won’t deter the Archdiocese from lending a hand in the future.

“I think the work will continue. I just think we have to look at it how best to do it with the safety of those involved always first and foremost,” Caine said.

The group was expected to get to ohn F. Kennedy International Airport in New York Wednesday and then into Reagan airport later in the evening.

Even though three people were killed in the protests, the Archdiocese said no one from their group was ever in any type of immediate danger.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore said it has long had a sister relationship with an Archdiocese in Haiti, and they’ve been working together for 15 years.

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Rick Ritter


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