The father of former Flagpole City Editor Ben Emanuel is, thankfully, back home safe after going missing in Nepal.
Martin Emanuel, 71, was hiking the Tamang Heritage Trail on Apr. 25 when a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit. The Decatur resident described the scene to reporters in Atlanta today:
They saw the aforementioned landslide and the cracks in the ground, and the locals began to panic.
Everyone, Emanuel said, left their homes “almost instantly,” fearful that another earthquake would cause them to collapse. They gathered under a makeshift tent and had a community debate: stay put or seek safer ground down the mountain.
The villagers opted to venture out, but Emanuel, his guide, his porter and a French couple decided to stay put. They were inside a wooden building when an “even bigger quake” — an aftershock — struck around 8 p.m. The building “raised off the ground.”
In the days following, Emanuel and his guide walked, walked and walked. They navigated house-sized boulders and crossed a dangerous expanse of debris to gain entry to a suspension bridge dangling over a river.
The conditions were rough, but the scope of the earthquake’s impact was not something Emanuel would grasp for days.
“I didn’t know this was a national disaster,” he said.
Martin Emanuel wasn’t able to contact his family until Apr. 29, but Ben said they were calm and optimistic as they tried to track him down via social media.
“We assumed that being outside of the city [during the quake] was in his favor,” Ben said.
Martin arrived back in Atlanta on Sunday.
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