Elliot Yamin was having a bad time in Chile. Upset how the Viña del Mar International Song Festival was being run and how he was treated as a contestant, he took to his Twitter to complain. “Thanks 4 nothing Chile!…what an awful experience!” was his Tweet last night, but then things got much worse for this season 5 “American Idol” alum. Less than an hour later, at 3:34 am local time, the 8.8 earthquake, which is 700-800 times stronger than the one that hit Haiti a month ago, hit the South American country, and Yamin was about 90 miles from the epicenter. “Huge earthquake just now in Chile!!….I swear I thought this was the end of my life!!!!!”
After the initial hit, Yamin began describing the conditions, stating that he had grabbed some blankets and was waiting out the aftershocks. He mentioned the lack of power and the chaos in the streets. Several times, he was quick to assure this family and followers that he was safe and sound, all while keeping everyone informed with up to the minute information. Eventually, news programs such as CNN and The Today Show began airing his Tweets live on the air as they came in.
Once he was informed of his words being broadcast for all to see, he began to update more frequently, and even to clarify his earlier statements about his “awful experience” in Chile a mere hour before the quake. In five separate Tweets, he said:
“To all my chilean fans here, and new fllwrs-welcome..i need to xplain myself..i was tweetin last nite just as the earthquake struck about my displeasure with how the contest was ran..and how i was treated as a contestant..i was in no way dissin the chilean peeps or anyone..i just had a bad nite, then it abruptly got worse.i feel blessed 2 have had the opp to experience your amazing culture! and 2 have met other contestants from all over the world..and then disaster struck!..now i have a responsibility to report what i c & hear, & and 2 describe my own personal accounts of this tragedy 2 anyone who will listen..i am a survivor, and here for this purpose!!!”
He also began talking about his diabetes, and the trouble he may have with having enough insulin, as the airport in Chile is closed. Later, he talked about the various media outlets he talked to, including Larry King Live, CNN, NBC and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He conducted all of these interviews over the phone
At the time, there are at least 700 dead and many more injured or missing. While this quake was much stronger than the one that hit Haiti, Chile was more prepared, so there will be fewer deaths or injuries.