Tampa volunteers help rescue 86 Americans from Sudan amid civil war

Dozens of Americans are feeling relief after escaping Sudan amid the ongoing civil war. 

Tampa-based non-profit Project Dynamo worked for days to rescue 86 Americans who are now recovering in Egypt after being forced to leave their homes and much of their belongings behind.

One of the evacuees told FOX 13 he and his family were shot at while trying to leave. 

Muhammad, who did not want his last name to be used, his wife, and their four kids were at home Saturday night when they heard gunfire outside. They quickly packed up what they could, but he says they were shot at as they were driving away. He says they are grateful beyond measure for Project Dynamo getting them out safely.

"The streets are so scary," Muhammad said. "We've been literally in the crossfire, so I took my family. I was driving, and they shot at me, but I made it a place in Khartoum."

Americans pose with American flag outside of bus after being rescued by Project Dynamo.

Americans pose with American flag outside of bus after being rescued by Project Dynamo. Image is courtesy of Project Dynamo. 

Muhammad and his family eventually got in touch with Project Dynamo co-founder Bryan Stern with Project Dynamo and started working with him to help find more Americans needing rescuing.

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"We start doing ground operations very quickly, trying to set some things up but realize almost immediately we're going to need a bigger solution because the amount of miles to travel is a lot and the country is at war, and it's very dangerous," Stern said.

Evacuees on plane courtesy Project Dynamo.

That's when Stern says they started working on getting a plane but realized it wouldn't be possible to fly out of Khartoum International Airport after it got shut down, so they rented these buses and transported 120 evacuees to a private airstrip in Port Sudan. 

It meant going through several checkpoints, but at one point, Stern says one bus with 20 people was robbed by military forces who took their phones.

"There's not much to do. Hopefully, they make their way to a processing center with the British or somebody else, but they don't have any documents on them, so these are people that are going to go up to someone and say, I'm an American; trust me," Stern said.

READ: Six months after Russia invaded Ukraine, Project Dynamo continues mission to rescue Americans

Meanwhile, some of the remaining 100 evacuees had paperwork issues like expired passports or expired visas, but still, Project Dynamo was able to rescue 86 Americans. They flew from Port Sudan and landed at Cairo International Airport Sunday night.

Courtesy Project Dynamo

"We got our seats on the airplane, and the airplane started to take off. won't forget that moment at all. Finally, the kids will be far away from harm and from this crazy war," Muhammad said.

Project Dynamo is completely donor-based. To date, Stern says they've rescued more than 6,000 people from places Afghanistan, Ukraine and Sudan. 

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