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The earthquake that devastated Chile Saturday morning also jolted Los Alamos.
With growing apprehension Chuck Pergler and Mary Skarra reported that their daughter Isis Skarra-Pergler was still missing Monday.
She was traveling with her boyfriend Joe Stoffers when the 8.8-magnitude quake occurred. The couple was believed to be camping on a beach at that time, most likely in an impacted area.
The seismic event was centered offshore at Maule, Chile, about 200 miles southwest of Santiago. The couple was thought to be in Pichilemu, about 120 miles southwest of Santiago.
When Pergler answered the phone, his daughter said, “Dad?”
Pergler said, “Isis?”
And then he said he started screaming for joy.
Isis apologized for having been unable to call.
“Communication is absolutely down,” Pergler said. “This is the first place they found that they were able to call out.
With a great sigh of relief, Pergler sent out an e-mail this morning with good news.
“Isis just called me,” Pergler said in an e-mail. “Both she and Joe are safe and sound. They were getting on a bus in San Fernando.”
The couple was heading toward the southern part of the country, he said, because they had been told to avoid Santiago. The are planning to continue their trip, now heading inland to Argentina with their back packs.
Isis only had a few minutes to communicate but told her father that they were involved in the
evacuation of the beach town where they were camping.
“They apparently watched the tsunami roll into Pichilemu,” Pergler said. “Apparently, no one died there.”
Pergler has been distraught since the earthquake, looking for his daughter by long-distance. He registered with the State Department and was using a Facebook page to communicate with the public.
Pergler said he spoke with Isis on Friday, but after the disaster occurred that communication became a worrisome frustration.
“Unfortunately, being a consummate ‘gringo,’ I did not catch nor could I recall the name of the Chilean beach town they were at.” he said. “They were in southern Santiago on the Feb. 25 and heading southwest, we believed.”
Pergler said they guessed that the couple might have been moving toward the southwest after talking to Stoffer’s brother about where the best surfing is most likely to be found.
He said the couple was not fully aware of the concern they had caused at home and didn’t seem to know how bad things were in the rest of Chile.