Chicago Families Rescued From Mumbai Hotel

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Nov 28, 2008 4:40PM

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A Chicago woman and her family were rescued by the Indian Army from a Mumbai hotel where they had been trapped for almost two days since the siege began earlier this week. Carol Mackoff and her husband, sister, and friend were staying at the Taj Mahal Hotel as part of a three-week trip when the attacks began. With the satellite TV cut, Mackoff's only communication with the outside world was through text messages with the U.S. Consulate. In an interview with CNN, Mackoff said, "In the beginning, we heard shots and we didn't know what was happening. We saw men running down our hallway and we could see through the peephole in the door -- we could see guns in their hands."

According to Mackoff, the attackers rang the family's doorbell several times but they never answered and barricaded the door for protection. "We locked every possible lock on the door and put heavy suitcases against it. When the explosions started and smoke filled the hallways we put towels at the bottom of the door." The quartet fed themselves on cookies from the minibar as well as food they brought from home, including health bars and nuts. After communicating with the consulate, a rescue was coordinated with the Indian Army. "They informed us the final assault was beginning and we got a call from the colonel of the [Indian] army, and he said we will give you a password and if we come to the door and give it to you, come quietly with us. That's exactly what happened."

The Trib is also reporting on a Lake Forest family that was also rescued. Dr. Deepak Dalia, a Lake Forest radiologist, and his family were at restaurant at the Oberoi Hotel when the attacks started.

"It was scary, very scary," he said by cell phone. "Those two hours in the banquet hall felt like two days."

Eventually, the family was led out through a fire entrance door.

More details about those killed is beginning to trickle out. The death toll is up to 151, including an American rabbi and his wife.

AP Photo