Americans in Haiti: Miracle Rescues and Devastating Losses

Three students from a U.S. university once believed to be safe are missing.

January 15, 2010, 12:45 PM

Jan. 15, 2010 — -- Linda Prusynski was practically speechless with relief and joy over the news that her daughter was pulled alive from the rubble in Haiti.

"It's just the most amazing thing," Prusynski told today after receiving word that her daughter Rachel had been found and was coming back home to Boise, Idaho.

Rachel Prusynski told ABC News' Boise affiliate KIVI-TV that she'll "live her whole live trying to deserve being the one who made it out."

The 22-year-old had been working in a Port-au-Prince orphanage for two weeks when the powerful quake struck on Tuesday.

"The floor completely tipped to the side. I had to run towards the street side to not fall off the building," Rachel Prusynski said.

"We feel so fortunate," said Linda Prusynski. "Others weren't as lucky."

The relieved mom said three other volunteers were working with her daughter at the orphanage and she said one survived and two others died in the disaster.

Only one of those possible victims have been confirmed. The parents of Molly Hightower, 22, learned early this morning that their daughter had been found dead in the wreckage of the orphanage.

"Molly was a beautiful young lady," her uncle Craig Hightower told ABC News' Seattle affiliate "She had a great smile and clearly had a massive capacity for love and a big heart."

Americans desperate for news of their loved ones in Haiti rode a rollercoaster of hope and despair.

Dan Wooley, who had been traveling with Colorado Springs-based Compassion International, was pulled out alive today from a hotel elevator shaft where he had been trapped for the last four days.

Wooley helped rescue workers pull him up with ropes out of the elevator in what had once been the Hotel Montana. Wooley and another man, believed to be Haitian, were both rescued and embraced each other from their adjacent cots.

Wess Stafford, the CEO of Compassion International, tweeted this morning, "Thanks for praying...just learned one of our staff Dan Wooley has been found ALIVE and is being dug out of rubble of collapsed hotel! PTL!"

New Jersey native Sarla Chand was also pulled from the Montana's rubble on Thursday.

Chand, who thanked rescue workers after being trapped for more than 50 hours in the remains of the hotel, described her experience as "Very very bad."

"It didn't take even a second for it to collapse, so there wasn't a warning. Everything collapsed. Thank you thank you," said Chand.

Richard Santos and Jim Gulley, also pulled from the Hotel Montana, said they survived on what they had in their pockets -- Orbitz gum and a Tootsie Roll lollipop.

Lynn University Students Still Missing

But other families are still enduring an agonizing wait for word on their loved ones.

An American named Rudy Bennett has been trapped in the same hotel and has reportedly been texting from underneath the rubble, hoping to be rescued. He has yet to be found.

Eight students from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., were rescued in Haiti and reunited with their families in South Florida Wednesday night, but others from the school are still missing.

Three families of students at Lynn University who were told Thursday by contractors sent into the country to search for the missing students that their daughters had been located and were safe were told later that night that the information was wrong, and that their children had not been found.

"We don't know how this happened," said Jason Hughes, a spokesman for Lynn University.

Len Gengel, whose daughter Britney was one of the students believed to have been located but then was determined to still be unaccounted for, had thought he'd seen his daughter in a photograph.

"She's alive," the thrilled father gushed to reporters.

Gengel then traveled to Florida to meet his daughter, but instead got the news no parents want to hear: His daughter was still missing.

Lynn's Hughes said late last night that Gengel is "devastated," but still "hopeful" that they will eventually find his daughter.

Besides those three students, Lynn University is also searching for a fourth missing student and four faculty members.

It is believed that the students who are still missing were in rooms on the first and second floors of the Hotel Montana when the earthquake struck and that the two faculty advisors were in the hotel's fitness center.

ABC News' Kate Snow contributed to this report.