A password to safety in Mumbai
Carol Mackoff and her family were rescued Friday morning after being trapped in their rooms in the Taj Mahal Hotel for more than 40 hours.The Mackoffs were pretty smart in how they handled the situation. Uning text messages avoided having a conversation overheard. The apparently survived on mini bar goodies and nuts they had brought with them. The Indian Army rescue effort that saved them appears to have been well planned and executed.
"They informed us the final assault was beginning and we got a call from the colonel of the [Indian] army, and he said we will give you a password and if we come to the door and give it to you, come quietly with us," Mackoff said. "That's exactly what happened."
Mackoff, her husband, sister and friend were on a three-week trip to India.
"In the beginning, we heard shots and we didn't know what was happening," she told CNN by phone. "We saw men running down our hallway and we could see through the peephole in the door -- we could see guns in their hands."
The Chicago, Illinois, resident said the attackers rang their doorbell twice, but she and her family didn't answer.
"We locked every possible lock on the door and put heavy suitcases against it," she said. "When the explosions started and smoke filled the hallways we put towels at the bottom of the door."
While she was trapped, Mackoff exchanged text messages with the U.S. Consulate, which coordinated the rescue with the Indian Army. The four were told the exact time they would be rescued.