Alphin Still Hopeful Pal Survived Haiti Earthquake
Country star Kenny Alphin is still looking for a missing friend in the rubble of Port-au-Prince, Haiti - but accepts it's unlikely he'll be successful.
The Big & Rich star arrived in Haiti last month (Jan10) in a desperate attempt to find eco-warrior Walt Ratterman, who was preparing for a meeting at the capital's Montana Hotel when a 7.0-magnitude earthquake brought the building down, and has since become part of the relief effort in the city.
Alphin was performing when the earthquake shook on 12 January (10) and called his pal's wife as soon as he heard the news - to make sure Ratterman was OK.
She explained that she hadn't heard from her husband and the singer/songwriter made immediate plans to fly to the Dominican Republic and find transport to Haiti.
Two weeks later, Ratterman is still missing and Alphin fears the worst.
He tells CMT.com, "To the best of my abilities, I haven't been able to find him. The Hotel Montana looks like what was left of the Twin Towers after 9/11. It was about 10 storeys that were kind of just built on this mountain and into these ravines. It was built and added to over decades and decades. They never really had any building codes down there."
And Alphin reveals the whole city is in ruins: "I have nothing in my lifetime to compare it to, really... There was just rubble everywhere."
To make himself useful as he continues the search for his friend, the star has joined a United Nations task force to help survivors of the quake.
He adds, "They saved a lot of lives, and I went into everything that they showed me, just trying to get an understanding of what the structure was and if possibilities might still exist. A lot of the places I went, about 99.9 percent of the world would not in any way, shape or form crawl into these places that these search and rescue guys have crawled into.
"At the time I was down there, 75,000 bodies were buried outside of the city. I would not fret to say, just from driving through the city, there were tens of thousands more that were burned in the streets because the stench was so bad. The morgues were full, the hospitals were full... It's probably a quarter of a million people dead there."
And he's still hopeful that Ratterman has survived the earthquake - against all the odds: "They maintained what we call search and rescue up until the two-week point, and history tells us that's about as long as anybody is yet to survive.
"But I am still pretty sure that Walt is going to come walking up to me anywhere now, any minute, and he'll tap me on the shoulder and look me right in the eye, and go, 'You look like you could use a little help.' And I'll go, 'You son of a b**ch. Yeah, grab a hammer.'"