Crystal Janke and Michael Petterson

William Petterson and Crystal Janke and are stranded in Honduras after the country closed its borders to protect itself against the spread of coronavirus.


Crystal Janke and William Petterson had planned for their trip to a beach resort in Honduras to be short and sweet.

He proposed; she said yes; and when they left for Central America on March 14, they planned to return home two days later.

Because of COVID-19, their trip down south has become extended and a lot more stressful.

Honduras closed its borders March 15. Since then, the couple has been unable to find a plane to fly them out of the country, Janke said.

Domestic airlines, including Delta and United Airlines, have canceled their flights to the country, and charter flights are cost prohibitive, she said.

“With a private flight, you have to have at least eight people and it’s like $4,000 per person,” she said. “I don’t know who can afford that, but I can’t.”

Janke, a Galveston resident who owns a medical practice in Friendswood, said she and Petterson were one of the two final guests at a beach resort in Tela, Honduras. They had been asked to leave the resort Monday, and weren’t sure where they were headed next.

They had tried to book flights on four different airlines, only to have them canceled. They tried to drive out of the country, but were stopped, she said.

The couple has been in contact with the U.S. Embassy and have a letter that allows them to cross Honduras’ border, she said. But what they don’t have is transport, they said.

“All they’re basically saying is ‘good luck,’” she said.

Janke said her hope was the U.S. military would agree to pick up them and a few other COVID-19 refugees. The military had made at least two other flights out of the country in the past week, including one Saturday to retrieve the U.S women’s football team from Honduras.

In the meantime, Janke was trying to stay calm, she said. There have only been a handful of cases reported in Honduras as of Monday. One of Janke’s chief concerns was what she left behind in Galveston. Her 18-year-old son was home alone with her dogs, she said.

“We’re just trying to keep him sane,” she said. “We’re taking it one day at a time.”

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; or on Twitter @johnwferguson.


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(2) comments

Robert Jackson

Just to be clear, they went on an international trip on the 14th, when it was already obvious that things were going to be bad. Now, they are stuck and can't get back. Chalk this up to either ego or stupidity.

Aubrey Garcia

EXACTLY my thoughts.

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