Jax resident makes it back home after 'Nemo' stranded her overseas

JACKSONVILLE, Fla---A Jacksonville resident finally makes it back home and lands at Jacksonville International Airport after being stranded in Moscow for 24 hours due to the northeast blizzard.

"The flight looks like it's on time so the family should be seeing her at 9:51 tonight," said Steve Crandall, President of Discount Travel in Jacksonville.

After a day of anxiety the Ruliens finally get to see their 24-year-old daughter. Caitlin Rulien was on her way back from a five-week long humanitarian trip in Delhi, India when she got stuck in Moscow. As if the layover wasn't stressful enough, authorities put her up in a room where she could not leave because she didn't have a Russian visa.

"She was basically held on the floor by the Moscow authorities and nothing bad, I mean they provided her dinner and a nice room, but she still couldn't leave," said Theresa Rulien, Caitlin's Mother.

Rulien was flying from Moscow to JKF in New York and then makingtwo stops before landing at JIA, but Friday's white-out blizzard caused JFK and several northeast airports to shut down.

"We just kept watching the schedules and the availability and we saw a flight open up with one stop so we re-booked her on that," said Crandall.

Steve Crandall with Discount Travel has been working with the Ruliens after they discovered Caitlin was stranded in Moscow.

"It's very hard cause as a Dad you want to provide security and safety for your daughter and when they are that far away there's nothing you can do, you have no control over anything, their government or anything," said Joey Rulien, Caitlin's Father.

Caitlin was under constant supervision by Moscow authorities. Crandall says the visa situation Caitlin faced is a rare one and that passengers should not be worried about connecting flights in foreign countries.

"Most countries you don't need a visa so even if you are stranded in the city overnight it's usually not a problem, but in this case, Soviet Union, some other countries, Brazil, you have to have a visa," said Crandall.

Caitlin made it back on time with her family Saturday night and just in time to celebrate her mother's birthday. In Delhi she was working with street children through the program 'Squalor to Scholar.' She was able to prepare children to go to school for the first time in their lives.


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