NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Sarasota native to fly out of India after being stuck there for weeks due to 21-day quarantine

Posted at 10:43 PM, Mar 31, 2020

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A Congressman representing Florida says the Sarasota native who had been stuck in India for weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic is finally coming home.

Kendra Simpkins, a U.S. Army veteran and of Sarasota, arrived in India on February 29.

"It's been a roller coaster for sure. A lot of ups and downs," Simpkins previously told ABC Action News.

She had been stuck overseas due to the 21-day quarantine in New Delhi, India. On Sunday, April 5, Rep. Vern Buchanan said Simpkins is scheduled to fly out of India on Monday.

"I spoke with the U.S. Ambassador to India this weekend and he assured me that Kendra would be on the next flight out," Rep. Buchanan said in a press release. "I'm working to help other constituents trapped overseas get home as well. It's very nerve-wracking for our neighbors to be trapped overseas as these countries restrict flights and lock down travel in response to the COVID-19 pandemic."

Simpkins runs a nonprofit in Sarasota called "Operation Warrior Resolution." The nonprofit helps military service members and their families alleviate PTSD and other mental health issues.

"We provide holistic mental health treatments, yoga and meditation is one of those things. I come to India once a year... to get training to then come back and provide yoga for veterans through our non-profit," she previously told ABC Action News.

For weeks, she was unable to get a flight back to the United States. She said at least five flights had canceled on her.

"Once they started closing the borders, the airlines started canceling their flights so I would book a flight to go home and it would get canceled. I'd book another one and it would get canceled," said Simpkins.

Earlier in the week, Rep. Buchanan had urged Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to take more forceful action to help bring back Americans stuck overseas during a global pandemic.

In a letter to Secretary Pompeo, Congressman Buchanan wrote, "I am very concerned about Americans who have reported difficulties getting assistance from U.S. embassies in foreign countries and have been unable to secure flights home."

Congressman Buchanan mentioned Simpkins in his letter. He also mentioned other Americans who are stuck in Peru and Columbia.

RECOMMENDED: Americans, including Tampa native, stuck in Peru say authorities forced them back inside to their hostel at gunpoint