Mainers in Chile safe after quake

Posted Feb. 28, 2010, at 7:29 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Two professors and two graduate students from the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute were among the Maine residents who were in Chile when the earthquake with a magnitude of 8.8 struck before dawn Saturday.

Paul Mayewski and Andrei Kurbatov and their students, whose names were not available Sunday, are in the country on a research expedition, according to University of Maine spokesman Joe Carr. He said they had contacted family members Saturday to report that they were uninjured.

Carr said Sunday he did not know where the team had been but that they had made their way to Santiago, the nation’s capital, and were making plans to return to Maine later this week.

Chemical engineering professor Bill DeSisto and his family are living in San Pedro de la Paz, just one town away from Concepcion, reported to be at the epicenter of the quake, according to Carr.

Concepcion is about 200 miles south of Santiago,

“The DeSistos have reported that they are well,” Carr said in an e-mail Sunday.

DeSisto is spending six months at Unidad de Desarrollo Tecnologico, a research institute at the University of Concepcion.

Amy Marchessault, a junior majoring in International Studies, is spending the semester at a university in Santiago, Carr said. She is also reported to be fine.

The daughter of gubernatorial candidate Patrick McGowan is spending a semester abroad at the University of Santiago and has let family members know she is safe, according to longtime family friend Dan Cashman of Brewer.

Chelsea McGowan is a junior majoring in International Studies at the University of Maine at Farmington. She was not in Santiago when the quake hit, Cashman said Sunday, but was spending the weekend on Chiloe Island, off the southern section of Chile, about 300 miles south of the quake’s epicenter.

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