Haiti earthquake diary: Flying into Port-au-Prince

The night after the 7.0 earthquake reduced Port-au-Prince to rubble, our chartered plane got the OK to land at the damaged airport. Was I going to be able to keep my emotions in check and do my job as a journalist?

By , Contributor

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    A SH-60S helicopter assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) lands at the airport in Port-au-Prince to load water and supplies for distribution to earthquake victims in Port-au-Prince Monday.
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Jeffrey Kofman, the ABC-TV correspondent who pushed for me to go cover Haiti's earthquake with the ABC crew, was pulled from the story at the last minute. I didn’t know that until I was in the taxi on the way to the Miami airport. I was more upset than he was.

I wanted to be working with someone who understood my passion for Haiti, but also knew my work there.

I didn’t know any members of this team: a few security guys, a camera crew, couple of producers and technicians. They were talking about Haiti, rightfully so, as the story they were going to cover. But I couldn't stop thinking about whether Jean Raymond, my former husband and the father or my son, was alive.

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Was I going to be able to keep my emotions in check and do my job?

We’d waited so long for everyone to assemble that it was nearly dark by the time we took off. There was some question as to whether they would let us land in Port-au-Prince, because the airport had been damaged and the runways were full of planes that couldn't leave for lack of fuel and communications.

But we got the OK and started our descent.

I was glad it was dark: I wasn’t sure I could handle seeing too much too soon.

---- For stories, blogs, and updates on Haiti after the earthquake, go to the Monitor's Haiti topic page.

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