After The Quake, Elliott Yamin Still Stuck In Chile

Singer Elliott Yamin survived Saturday’s 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile and tweeted through the whole experience as he escaped from the sixth floor of his hotel in the city of Viña del Mar. After making it through a low insulin scare, the “American Idol” contestant and type 1 diabetic now just has to conquer one more hurdle – leaving the South American country and making his way home.

Chile’s National Disaster Office has raised the death toll from the quake to 795, according to CNN. The massive quake was followed by 131 aftershocks of magnitude 5 of greater, a tsunami and more chaos as stores were looted and set on fire in cities such as Concepcion.

Yamin, who placed third in the 2006 fifth season of “American Idol,” was in Chile to perform at Viña del Mar International Song Festival.

Less than 15 minutes after tweeting that “the people here were very gracious, and the contestants were all awesome,” Yamin updated his Twitter account early Saturday with a series of dramatic messages.

“Huge earthquake just now in Chile!!….I swear I thought this was the end of my life!!!!!,” Yamin wrote. “F**k!!!!!! I take it all back everybody!!….I just escaped w my life,from an 8.3 earthquake!!!…is everybody ok?…where was the epicener?

“Complete and utter choas on the streets…no power…my heart is beatin outta my chest!….tsunami warnin…I am only a mile inland!”

Photo: AP Photo
A resident takes photos of a building damaged in Talca, Chile.

Less than an hour after the last tweet Yamin assured his friends, family and fans that he was safe.

“Hey everybody…we r totally safe and sound 4 the time being…I’m finally calmer,and dawn is approaching,which will help!..thx 4 ur prayers.” He added, “I’m totally calm now….were all 2gether…got blankets from our rooms, and we’re all hudled on the aftershox in a while..”

After his brother gave him the heads up that CNN was relaying his firsthand account tweets, this singer sent a message to the cable news network, writing, “Attn cnn/world: we r worried from ur reports of a tsunami, yet no warning sirens have sounded yet!…the army here is advising us 2 stay put”

Yamin later gave an interview with CNN explaining the scene at his hotel. He has since done interviews with ABC, NBC, Ryan Seacrest.

The singer told CNN he was on the sixth floor of his hotel, sitting at the desk in his room and tweeting when the quake occurred around 3:20 a.m. Things started to fall off the wall and lights began flickering on and off. Yamin explained that the building and his room began swaying back and forth and the swaying then abruptly turned into a violent shake.

He headed towards the doorway, shouting frantically and then joining another hotel visitor in making a mad dash from the sixth floor to the ground floor.

Photo: AP Photo
A police officer gesture at scavengers in downtown Talcahuano, Chile.

On Sunday Yamin tweeted that he had booked a Wednesday flight out of Chile. The next day he added “need 2 get home asap!” and explained that flights might not resume until Friday. He said he was advised to leave the country by driving 10 hours on a single-lane road through the Andes to get to the city of Mendoza.

“appreciate everyones suggestions to go elswhere to fly out…but i am stayin put…i am only 25 mins from santiago airport,& the safest here,” Yamin tweeted. “at this point,very hard 2 specualte when ill b gettin outta here…the airport and the airlines r screwed…was gon b wed, now thats changed”

Yesterday Fox News reported that Yamin was worried about his insulin supply.

“I am a Type 1 diabetic and I only packed enough insulin supplies for my pump to last a couple more days, so I’m starting to worry,” he told Fox News. “I don’t know how long we’re going to be here. This country isn’t very keen on insulin pumps; supplies for my pump are running low. Hospitals here are very crowded, and as you can imagine, they are dealing with bigger things.”

Although he didn’t explain how he got his hands on his needed medical supplies, yesterday Yamin updated his followers on the insulin situation, tweeting that “I’m NOW DOING OK AS FAR INSULIN GOES!…no need 2 wrry.”

Photo: AP Photo
A man receives an empty bottle to fill it with water from a damaged main in Concepcion, Chile.

Fox News noted that Yamin was scheduled to perform at the 11th Annual Children Uniting Nations Awards Celebration during the Oscars this Sunday.

As for now, Yamin is still in Chile. Here’s what he tweeted to his followers earlier today:

“Im still stuck in santiago, with no clear idea as to when i’ll be able to get out…i think im starting to have post traumatic stress, as i reflect on where ive been over the last 2 weeks, and what ive been thru..altho im safe, alive,and well,still experiencing aftershox,and will b restless until i touch down on american soil.”

After finishing third on the fifth season of “American Idol,” behind winner Taylor Hicks and runner-up Katharine McPhee, Yamin released his self-titled debut album in 2007 and his sophomore album, Fight For Love, in May 2009. The singer has also released two Christmas collections – 2007’s Sounds of the Season: The Elliott Yamin Holiday Collection and 2008’s My Kind of Holiday.

Click here for Elliott Yamin’s Twitter page.

Click here for Elliott Yamin’s official Web site.

Click here for the Fox News interview.

Click here for the CNN interview.