Breaking News
More () »

COVID-19 lockdowns cause Kentucky family to be stranded in Honduras, begs for state's help

"It's frustrating when you feel like you've been abandoned by your federal government and betrayed by the U.S. carriers amongst you."

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — You only turn 50-years-old once. Fred Warkentine of Shelbyville planned his wife's birthday trip last summer. On Saturday, the two of them and their four children traveled to Roatan, Honduras to celebrate.

"When we got here the situation was much different than what it is now," Warkentine said. 

The trip took a turn for the worse.

"On her birthday ironically, the president declared all the borders close," he said. 

WHAS11 reporters spoke with Warkentine on Skype Saturday morning. The family's flight back to Kentucky was supposed to depart that day, but Delta airlines canceled it, according to Warkentine. 

After a global freeze on international travel and mass quarantines, some Americans are stranded overseas. 

"The island is pretty much on quarantine," he said. "There are places that are closed, you can't take a boat and you can't take a plane to mainland."

The family re-booked another flight for March 28th but Warkentine said last night, Delta canceled that one too and is not offering any other dates to re-book. There are no other airlines offering flights back to the states, according to Warkentine. The family even attempted to book a private charter plane but were denied a permit.

"We're stuck here currently under martial law," Warkentine said. "Martial law got here last night for the entire country so we don't know what that's going to mean for us."

The family contacted the U.S. Embassy and the State Department, but Warkentine said they were not helpful.

"It's frustrating when you feel like you've been abandoned by your federal government and betrayed by the U.S. carriers amongst you," Warkentine said.

The father of four said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Congressman John Yarmuth and U.S. Rep Thomas Massie have all reached out helping in any way they can. When WHAS11 reached out to McConnell's office, the spokesperson could not give a count but said several other Kentucky families stuck overseas have contacted them. Congressman Yarmuth's office said about a dozen constituents stuck abroad have asked for help.

Warkentine is an ER doctor at Norton Children's Hospital. In the midst of a health crisis, not only does he want a safe return home, he wants to lend a helping hand.

"That's part of my anxiousness to get back," he said. "I need to get back to work and provide care for the people of Kentuckiana."

Contact reporter Senait Gebregiorgis at SGebregior@whas11.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook. 

►Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.  

Have a news tip? Email assign@whas11.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.  


Spencer County confirms first case of coronavirus

Real-time updates | 67-year-old is third coronavirus-related death in Kentucky, currently 87 confirmed cases in the state

FDA approves coronavirus test that produces results in 45 minutes

Coronavirus live updates: Growing need for hospital supplies; FDA approves test with 45min results

US tourists stranded abroad don't know when they'll return

Stranger gifts CT newlyweds toilet paper at photoshoot during COVID-19 pandemic

Walmart hiring for 150K positions to meet demand from coronavirus, giving bonuses to current employees

Kroger, Jay C stores adjust hours of operation

Starbucks goes drive-thru only over coronavirus concerns after employee petition

Bravo's Andy Cohen says he tested positive for COVID-19

Proffitt Report: We can overcome coronavirus pandemic by learning from Greatest Generation

Before You Leave, Check This Out