TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Another plane carrying dozens of American evacuees from the war-torn country of Israel landed in Tampa Wednesday morning.
The Tampa-based non-profit, Project Dynamo, helped rescue hundreds of people out of disaster areas and conflict zones. Earlier this week, Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order to help fund the flights to rescue Americans from Israel through the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
After a 23-hour flight, 23 Americans have safely arrived back on U.S. soil. The unimaginable nightmare for the Zins family, from California, is finally over.
“There was fear, distress,” said Gail Zins, an Israel evacuee. “We are refugees without clothes on our back, leaving a war-torn country, trying to seek safety. As a mother, all I want to do is to keep my family together and safe.”
Gail Zins said her family of five was on vacation in Israel when suddenly they found themselves in the middle of missiles and bombing.
“We were in a shelter in the stairway at the hotel, holding each other and listening to sirens,” said Gail.
The Zins knew it was no longer safe. They needed to get out immediately, so they got in touch with the Project Dynamo.
“They drove us to Tel Aviv,” said Talia Zins.
Gail’s daughter Talia said within minutes of arriving, their lives were at risk.
“The sirens went off for a bomb warning again it happened again that night around 10:30 we all got woken up from it and honestly terrified,” said Talia. “We were all scared for our lives and just wanting to go home.”
Finally, the call they had been so desperately waiting for came in. The plane had arrived.
The Zins and 18 others began their long journey out of Israel, stopping in Cypress, Athens, Egypt and finally landing in Tampa on Wednesday morning.
“We’re still here together as a family and safe and that’s all that we could ever ask for,” said Talia.
This is the second plane filled with families rescued from the war-torn country by Project Dynamo. On Sunday night, 270 people arrived at the airport.
“We can’t think Project Dynamo enough,” said Gail. “We know that the government of Florida has helped to help finance. We are grateful to be at home on U.S. soil.”