Katie Teague was watching “The Peanuts Movie” with her younger son at home in Westbrook on Saturday evening when her husband got a call from a friend asking if they’d heard about the earthquake in Ecuador, where their 14-year-old son, Shaun, was on a mission trip with his school.

Her husband went online to learn more and found out how severe it was.

As of Monday, at least 350 people had died and more than 2,500 had been injured in the magnitude-7.8 quake that flattened homes and buckled highways. Aid was arriving from around the world to provide medical care and help search for survivors still buried under rubble.

Before Teague’s husband relayed what information he had, she checked her phone. She had a voicemail from her son, letting her know he was OK.

Shaun Teague is in the city of Manta with seven other high school students, two teachers and a parent from the Greater Portland Christian School in South Portland, which organizes mission trips abroad every other year. They have been teaching vacation Bible school and immersing themselves in the Spanish language.

Another group about the same size, most of them students from Lake Region High School in Naples, is on a trip to Ecuador but was on the Galapagos Islands, far from the epicenter off the country’s central coast, when the earthquake hit, said Vicke Toole of Naples, whose daughter is in that group.

She said the students didn’t feel the quake but saw the ocean waves grow. That group, on a tour organized through a company called Education First, is scheduled to return to Quito, the capital, on Tuesday and arrive back in Maine on Monday, said Kurtis Clements of Casco, who also has a daughter on the trip.

He said his nerves have calmed since getting the news, but, he added, “I’d like to know how she’s going to get home.”

The South Portland students are supposed to leave Tuesday from Manta, but that airport was closed Monday. They were hoping to get a bus to Quito, where they have a connecting flight, but the roads are badly damaged and the buses aren’t running.

Their cellphones are dying and their calls home are getting less frequent.

But parents said Monday that they trust the chaperones to get the group home safely and believe the students will learn a lot from the harrowing experience.

“I feel this is probably why they’re there,” Teague said, noting her pride in her son when she found out the students had taken up a collection for a family whose home was destroyed in the earthquake.

Treena Garrison heard from her 14-year-old son, Kade, before she learned about the earthquake.

She said there was a nervous energy, almost giddiness, in his voice when he first called to say the home they were staying in hadn’t been damaged and that they were all gathered outside.

When he called back an hour and a half later, his tone had changed.

The group had grabbed their backpacks and started heading toward the church where they had been teaching because there was a tsunami warning and the church was on higher ground.

“I thought, ‘This is real,'” said Garrison, of South Portland.

Garrison said the parents of the Greater Portland Christian School students have had a group text going since they left for Ecuador on April 8 and have been sharing all the information they’ve gotten since the earthquake.

She said everyone has reported that the teens are doing well.

“I feel like the kids are going to learn and grow so much in their faith throughout this experience,” she said.

Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

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