The 8.8 earthquake that struck Chile Saturday left Chileans in South Florida cut off from their loved ones back home, and travelers en route to Santiago stranded in airports.
Two flights from LAN Airlines that departed from Miami Friday night were forced to land at the Iquique airport and also in Lima, Peru.
Saturday morning's flight to Santiago was canceled and the status of the night flights has not been determined, sources at LAN Airlines said.
With downed powerlines in Chile, BlackBerry Messenger seemed to be the only effective method of communication. Other technologies such as Tweeting and Facebooking had frustrating results.
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BlackBerry Messenger, also known as BBM, is an instant messenger application that allows BlackBerry users to text and send photographs.
“I tried reaching my family through Skype and via telephone for hours, but it was impossible and I gave up. I could talk to all of them through BlackBerry Messenger”, said Cristián Gleboff, 30, resident of Miami.
The U.S. State Department is helping U.S. citizens connect with their loved ones in Chile at 1-888- 407-4747.
Google is also helping Chileans connect: Click here to view the person finder application.
UStream is publishing live reports and helping people connect via social networks: Click here to view the site.