Crisis In Egypt Hits Home For Long Island Family

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – It has been a harrowing time for the family of a Long Island student studying abroad in Egypt.

Kyleen Burke, a 20-year-old from Port Jefferson, has been in Egypt with 34 other Gordon College students for a Middle Eastern studies program.  After being unable to speak with his daughter for four days, Jim Burke told 1010 WINS he was finally able to get in touch with her.

kyleen burke1 Crisis In Egypt Hits Home For Long Island Family

Kyleen Burke (Photo/CBS 2)

Burke said his daughter tried to reassure her family and even described the experience of witnessing the protests as “cool.”

Since the start of the crisis, Burke said his daughter was fine and kept out of the way of the protesters.

“She’s got a few whiffs of the tear gas and she heard…the police had set off fireworks.  She thinks firecrackers [were set] to enforce the curfew, but she feels very safe,” Burke said.

She and the other students were waiting for the curfew to be lifted so they could get to a retreat house in Istanbul, Turkey.

RELATED: NJ Egyptians Say Problems Lasted Too Long

Burke said communicating with his daughter has been difficult since the government shut down the Internet this past week.  The family had been using Skype to communicate with Kyleen, but the Internet interruption rendered them unable to reach her for some time.

RELATED: Local Expats React To Protests, Unrest In Egypt

Burke said Kyleen spent Saturday night at the Cairo rail road station under military guard, but has not felt like she was in danger.

 LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reports

jim burke Crisis In Egypt Hits Home For Long Island Family

Jim Burke (Photo/CBS 2)

“The people that she’s been interacting with have been wonderful and almost apologetic that they’ve put them in this situation,” he said.

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo said Sunday it was arranging to begin flying Americans out of Egypt on Monday.

The announcement came hours after the embassy advised Americans in Egypt to consider leaving as soon as possible. The statement said the State Department is making arrangements to provide those who want to leave with flights to “safehaven locations in Europe.”

RELATED: Egyptians Stage Protest Outside United Nations

Burke added the family has been in close contact with Rep. Peter King’s office.  King along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were able to help Kyleen get in touch with her family.

“Secretary Clinton’s staff has personally called Kyleen to check with her and reported back to the family,” King told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

More from Mike Xirinachs
  • Bonita

    It is NICE to see a story about an American student who is able to get in contact with her parents to let them know she is ok in Egypt! Thanks to Hillary for helping make that connection. Our prayers go out to all of the travelers/students/loved ones who are trying to get out of the country now and make it to safety.

  • Ed Pizarro

    Let’s not hate y’all. Kyleen sounds poised and pretty bada$$!

    • Barbie Jones

      Ed, I totally agree. I think it’s cool that she’s safe. I do, however, have a problem with YOUR choice of words. There are kids that read these articles – a lot of them – and using dollar signs to spell out vulgarities is beyond unacceptable.

      I wonder if Burke will get to meet Clinton?

      • Ed Pizarro Jr

        You make a good point B. Hillary, if you’re reading this, you know what to do!

        Signing Off,


  • ebenezer whoopie

    woo woo woo, that tootsie is one swell looker. reminds me of a doughnut girl i once knew many years ago. and that dame had the sweetest gams i ever saw. we spent a few starry nights in my rumble seat watching the submarine races.

  • Mr Armenia

    This is very ridiculous that they are giving this girl special treatment to get out of Egypt

    There are more people from the United States that are there plus they are only dropping her off in Turkey because she is on a world trip.\

    Common Sense get home

  • DRuffinit

    This is news? There are 80,000 US citizens in Egypt. My son is a grad student there, living right on Tahrir Square with planes flying overhead and tanks outside his front door. My sympathies to the family involved here, but who at 1010wins/CBS was responsible from pretending that this girl is the only New Yorker who is in Cairo?

  • Ellen

    Hope and pray these kids get home safe and sound.

  • jerseyjoey

    Cool, what can you say to that, this is our future, these are the future doctors leaders etc of this country, COOL only excuse here is youth or BS reporting but it sounds like a good old yuppie upbringing to me. Takes all kinds i guess.

  • Huh?

    …did she say the protests were “cool”?

    • eahce

      Yes, democracy in action is pretty cool.

      • Geez

        She’s there for Middle Eastern studies, is watching history unfold and says the protests were “cool”….I’d love to read her essay on that topic…

  • Sweeney Williams

    I pray that all these students will get home safely.
    As a parent I feel what the parents of the students are feeling.

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