Three Serbians and a Hungarian, teammates on Missouri’s Lindenwood University club team, have experienced first-hand the chaos caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic according to an April 8 feature on Lindenlink.com.
Branislav Stojiljkovic, Nikola Nasev, and Andreja Babic, Serbian nationals studying at the school, were heading home after the university “urged international students to leave the United States” in a March 16 email. During their flight from Detroit to Amsterdam the crew announced that all flights to Serbia had been cancelled.
For 30 hours the three were stranded in Schipol Airport, one of the largest in Europe, with few apparent prospects. The group made contact with the Serbian embassy in Amsterdam and were told “the only way to get home is to hope that the government sends a plane,” according to Stojiljkovic.
They took to social media to plead their case, creating an Instagram video that caught the attention of many Serbians, including two well-known musicians, and appears to have helped prod Air Serbia to send an aircraft on March 23.
A teammate, Benedek Horvath, had made a surprise visit to his native Hungary over spring break. By March 9 the Hungarian government had declared a state of emergency soon followed by a ban on all flights from Europe to the the US. Committed to returning to Missouri for an on-campus job, Horvath caught a flight just before the window closed, and then found himself stranded at an aunt’s home in New York. Lindenwood would not allow him back on campus until two weeks of self-isolation had passed and he appears to remain in locked-down New York.