Gov. Rendell was expected late this afternoon to fly from Miami to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on a rescue mission to pick up 61 children who live in an orphanage run by two sisters from the Pittsburgh area. Rendell spokesman Gary Tuma said Rendell was in Miami this afternoon and scheduled to fly to Haiti. Tuma, who stressed that the plans were all very fluid, said Rendell might already be in Haiti by now.
Rendell spent the weekend working with the U.S. State Department and branches of the military to coordinate an air-lift for the children of the BRESMA orphanage, run by Jamie and Ali McMutrie. Tuma said the Haitian ambassador the the United States asked Rendell to go on the trip, hoping that "someone of his stature" could cut through and problems in the effort, Tuma said.
Of the 61 children, 41 are in some stage of being adopted by American families, Tuma added. The children will be brought to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh and then cared for by Catholic Charities until the adoptions are finalized.