Local man's mother rescued from Cairo apartment

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by ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ElisaHahnK5

KING5.com

Posted on February 4, 2011 at 7:10 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 5 at 12:15 AM

SEATTLE – A grandmother with family ties in Washington state has been rescued from her Cairo, Egypt apartment. But her whereabouts Friday night were unclear.

The story of 76-year-old Mary Thornberry, and her arsenal that included a rolling pin, became nationwide news this week.

"I'm really getting quite angry,” Thornberry told NBC News this week. “And it's just as well that no one comes and sticks their face in my broken glass because I'm apt to whop them with my rolling pin.”

Her strappy determination to survive despite the pounding threats outside her apartment won her the awe and respect of many.

Her son, Phil Derrick, says Thornberry was rescued from her apartment, but she has no cell phone or computer. Derrick, who lives near Cle Elum, believes she made it to the airport but is not sure if she made it out of the country.

"It's very possible with two-and-a-half days with no sleep that she's just in the corner of the airport in the lounge trying to take a nap,” says Derrick. “I honestly don't know.”

Derrick says he received an e-mail early Friday morning that she was OK, but he hasn't heard from her since.

Thursday, NBC's Lester Holt and his crew tried to make their way to Thornberry's apartment near Tahir Square, but the violence forced them to turn away.

In the end, it wasn't journalists or government agents who rescued her, but four individuals her son declined to identify for their protection.

"They're good people who have done something and we are grateful and they did it out of the goodness of their hearts more than anything else.”

Thornberry repeatedly talked about her rolling pin, which she armed herself with as protection against roving thugs. Her son says she had to leave it behind. It wouldn't fit into the small bag she used to carry her precious few belongings she was allowed to bring with her.

KING 5 News is keeping track of her journey and will provide updates as they come.

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