Little Rock students return after being stuck in NY - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Little Rock students return after being stuck in NY

Posted: Updated:
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -

Little Rock teenagers were stranded for five days in New York following Sandy's surge. It was a stressful week for some Parkview parents.

But finally Saturday night, a flight out of the city and long emotional hugs from families reunited.

Deborah Rookey's short walk from the plane to the terminal felt like slow motion to her mom. This week Hallie Rookey wanted nothing more than to squeeze her daughter tight.

"To finally have her where I could see her and touch her and hear her voice – it just felt fabulous," Hallie said.

When the students competing in a mock trial competition packed their bags for a trip to the Big Apple, they had no idea, Sandy was also coming to town.

"At the time the competition was still going on, so we were king of halfway in our game face working on that," Deborah Rookey remembered. "But by the time the last round came around, we were a little big more freaked out by the hurricane."

But as terrified as Deborah was, it was probably worse for her mother who was watching Sandy barrel towards her daughter. She even looked up how far her above ground her daughter's hotel room was.

"I clean when I get stressed," Hallie told KATV. "So the house is absolutely spotless right now – probably overly spotless."

The students were only a few blocks from Battery Park where the storm surge reached 20 feet.

"We saw an amusement park that looked as if it were built in the middle of the ocean," Leila Kerr remembered. "The ocean had just expanded over it and there was that crane that was just dangling from the top of a building. And we were all having a watch party to see what would happen with that."

Eventually, the storm passed. And the students faced a greater challenge getting home. After days of waiting, they finally got seats on a flight – five days and one hurricane later than they planned.

Deborah says she's really glad to be home. "It kind of got to the point where we were wondering if we were ever going to be back home," she said.

Her mother says she felt nothing but pure joy to see her daughter's face again.