Ex-Tri-Citian set to leave Egypt as protests rage

KENNEWICK — A Kennewick man living in Egypt has decided to leave the country as protests become increasingly violent.

Wyatt Wilcox, 31, and his wife, Susannah, have been in Maadi, an area south of Cairo, since August teaching at an international school.

Earlier this week, Wilcox told the Herald that he wasn't concerned for his safety and most of the demonstrations were downtown and not spilling into Maadi.

But on Thursday his mother, Karen Wilcox, said she received an update from her son that they would be leaving today after school officials decided to continue to keep the school closed.

"They don't feel that threatened still, but now the recent events with the violence ... he's a little more concerned than before. Mostly for the family." Wilcox said.

Wyatt and Susannah are expecting their first child in July.

Wilcox said she thinks her son would have stuck it out if he was alone and his wife likely would too because she's pretty brave as well, but things are deteriorating and supplies aren't coming into the area, and that could become a problem.

The school has booked them a flight back to the Tri-Cities, and if all goes as planned, they could be home in a couple of days, she said.

"It's going to be just a sit and wait game. It's hard for them and hard for us," Wilcox said. "It's good news in that I'm happy they're out of there, but I'm disappointed for them because I know they were looking forward to their opportunity there."

U.S. government evacuation flights from Egypt have been operating since Monday, taking American citizens fleeing the country to safe locations in Europe.

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo said no evacuation flights were scheduled today because of the availability of commercial flights, but embassy personnel would be at the airport to assist citizens.

The Wilcoxes, who taught for four years in South Korea before going to Egypt, are under a two-year contract with the school. They will have 28 days to return to the school before their contract is canceled, Karen Wilcox said.

If the situation in Egypt resolves itself during their trip home, they can turn around and go back, she said.

But meanwhile, she said, "I'll be glad to have them home safe."

* Paula Horton: 509-582-1556; phorton@tricityherald.com