ATLANTA - Angela Mulchandami was relieved to see her mother made it aboard a flight from Mumbai to Atlanta on Thursday morning.
A day earlier, Mumbai was the scene of a highly coordinated terrorist attack that had killed at least 119 people at 10 sites, including several luxury hotels.
'It's hard not knowing how all of your loved ones are, especially when you are seeing it on TV,' said the 25-year-old Mulchandami as she waited at the airport. 'I didn't know if she had made the flight.'
Indian-Americans and others across America with connections to the city under siege were frantically trying to get in touch with loved ones and colleagues Thursday. As they watched the scenes from Mumbai play out, Americans sent worried phone calls and e-mails to scores of friends and family.
Several Americans were among the injured. Andi Varagona of Nashville, Tenn., called her mother, Celeste Varagona, from a hospital Thursday and said she had been shot in the arm and leg while eating dinner at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel. Another Tennessee woman traveling with her was also injured, but her name was not immediately available, Celeste Varagona told The Associated Press.
A father and daughter from Virginia also were missing after being caught in an attack, said a spokeswoman for the spiritual group they were traveling with. Neither Alan Scherr, 58, nor his daughter Naomi Scherr, 13, had turned up by Thursday night, said Bobbie Garvey, spokeswoman for the Synchronicity Foundation. Both live and work at the group's headquarters in Faber, Va.
The other 23 members of the group who were traveling with the Scherrs have been accounted for, Garvey said. The group's Web site said two from America and two from Canada were shot and wounded, but are believed to be in stable condition. Their names weren't immediately available.
State Department spokesman Robert McInturff said Thursday at least three Americans were injured in the attacks, but said he could not identify them.
The motive for the violence was unclear, but Mumbai has frequently been targeted in terrorist attacks blamed on Islamic extremists, including a series of bombings in July 2007 that killed 187 people.
Karan Maheshwari, 25, also arrived in Atlanta from Mumbai Thursday morning. His mother called him before he took off to say that his high school biology teacher had been shot to death and two family friends were being held captive at the Taj Mahal hotel.
'They are just killing innocent people,' said Maheshwari, who works for the McKinsey & Company consulting firm across the street from the Oberoi Hotel, which was also attacked.
Sumita Batra, 39, who owns a chain of Indian-influenced beauty salons in Southern California, said she has two close friends who are in Mumbai for the holiday season. After several hours of trying Thursday, she finally reached one who was traveling with her 3-year-old son.
'It's so weird because they keep showing the same thing over and over again. I don't know what I'm looking for. I'm hoping that I can hear that it's over,' said Batra, who lives in Artesia, a southern Los Angeles County city that's home to the region's Little India.
Viren K. Bhandari said he checked out of the Oberoi hotel about three hours before the attacks began. He said he would have normally not left the hotel so early, but had a business meeting before he had to be at the airport.
'It could have been just outside when it all started,' the Atlanta resident said as he waited for his baggage at the city's airport.
Indian-American and Hindu communities across the U.S. were trying to understand the rash violence in India's financial capital. There are about 2.5 million people of Indian descent in the United States, according to census estimates.
Some tried to find solace in prayer. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined worshippers at the Hindu Temple Society of North America in Queens for a service to honor the dead and injured.
'As New Yorkers, we know the toll that terrorism takes all too well,' Bloomberg said.
The Durga Temple, a large Hindu temple in northern Virginia, was open for prayers on Thanksgiving Day, though no special services were planned until members return from holiday travel.
In Irving, Texas, Rajyam Rao went to the D/FW Hindu Temple Society 'to say a little prayer,' she said. She was born in Mumbai and used to work across from the Taj Mahal hotel, which was attacked.
'It is shocking, saddening,' Rao said. 'Right now the world economy is so bad, and you'd think that's where the people's focus would be. Instead it's the terrorist attacks, the bombings. This is really shocking.'