Ecuadoreans fleeing a massive earthquake in their home country arrived on Monday at LAX shaken but OK as they reunited with family members in warm embraces.
Ecuador's government says the death toll from Saturday's 7.8-magnitude earthquake has climbed to 413. The government's latest bulletin on casualties lists some 2,500 people as injured. The quake hit the country's Pacific coastline in an area of beaches popular with American tourists and ex-pats.
Milenca Arreaga, 17, is relieved to finally be safe in the arms of relatives in Los Angeles. She was driving a car in Guayaquil where a freeway overpass collapsed.
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"The car moved like a wave," she said. "I was afraid. I didn't know what's happening."
She was able to call family and tell them she was OK.
Nelly Jaramillo said in Spanish that she felt shaking, about three hours from the epicenter.
"Everything started shaking," said Jaramillo. "I was taking a shower. I didn't know what to do. And we had a big power outage. Not until the following day did I realize how big the damage was."
Maria Mora said she called relatives in Guayaquil to check on her elderly mother who has Alzheimer's disease. She was OK but frightened.
"Terrible, scary," she said. "They start to pray. That's the only thing they can do."
As rescue workers continue to dig through the rubble in search of survivors, help is pouring in from around the globe. Eddie Chavez arrived at Ecuador's Consulate in Los Angeles offering his assistance as a drone operator.
His family in Ecuador is safe, but their home was among more than 370 buildings that were destroyed.