Americans in Haiti: Miracle Rescues and Devastating Losses

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

ByABC News
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.