Georgia senator sends private jet to bring stranded Florida cruise ship passengers home

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Four Georgians who were stranded off the coast of Florida after nearly a month at sea in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak are back home in Georgia.

They were without a way home until Georgia’s governor asked the state’s junior U.S. senator if she could give them a lift.

“I was really honored to receive a call from the governor to ask if I could get involved,” Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) said.

The Republican Senator is a former corporate CEO and a co-owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.

She is reportedly the wealthiest U.S. senator and she just happens to have her own private jet.

“I was able to send my plane down there and bring the Georgians home last night,” Loeffler said Tuesday.

The two couples – Alan and Sharon Podrid from Marietta and David and Dianne Fowler from Sharpsburg – had been passengers on the Coral Princess cruise ship that was forced to stay at sea because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“About two weeks longer than they had planned,” Loeffler added.

Senator Loeffler said she worked with Gov. Brian Kemp and the State Department to make sure the Georgians got home. They’re continuing to work to find ways to bring other Georgians caught out of the country by coronavirus travel restrictions back to the U.S.

“This is something my office gets involved in routinely. My staff has been tremendous, I just want to recognize them and their work,” Loeffler said.

Loeffler said she met the passengers when they arrived back in their home state.

“To see the relief and the happiness on their faces, though we were all wearing surgical masks and gloves and social distancing,” she said. “I was happy to welcome them home.”

Loeffler said the passengers were taken in ambulances to get tested for the coronavirus.

The pilots that flew Loeffler’s jet are now in quarantine.

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