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Manchester Man ‘Stranded’ in Peru Amid Pandemic

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The U.S. State Department said that it is working "around the clock" to help thousands of Americans who are struggling to get home during the coronavirus pandemic. Connecticut residents are among those stranded in foreign countries.

“I know I’ll make it back to Connecticut. I know I’ll be OK,” said Carl Lepack, who is from Manchester. Lepack is currently more than 3,000 miles away in Cusco, Peru.

“I definitely wanted an adventure in this vacation, and I got an adventure just not the one that I bargained for,” said Lepack, who arrived in Peru on March 13 with plans to hike the Inca Trail. Before he was able to go on the hike, the president of Peru suspended all flights in and out of the country in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Lepack said he tried to act quickly.

“We only had 24 hours to get a flight and get out of the country,” Lepack said. “The next morning, I went to the airport. I was there for seven hours. I was unable to get a flight. Me and thousands of people were stranded in Peru.”

With the borders closed and curfews in place, Lepack has been alone in his hotel room trying to communicate with the U.S. embassy and State Department to figure out how he can get out of Peru.

The American embassy in Lima, Peru said that a few flights were beginning to depart for the U.S. on Wednesday. The embassy said that it is working to “clear all bureaucratic hurdles that prevent U.S. citizens from returning home”.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Lepack still had not learned when he would be flying home.

In the meantime, Lepack is seeing a strong police and military presence in the area outside of his hotel.

“It can be a little scary. I feel safe but a little uncomfortable sometimes,” Lepack said.

Lepack said he would return to Peru to hike the Inca Trail someday. His current priority is to get back to Connecticut.

“I’m okay. I’m safe,” said Lepack. “I’m fine and I definitely will make it back in one piece.”

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