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‘A really scary feeling:’ Sheboygan couple on dream vacation trapped in New Zealand amid COVID-19

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QUEENSTOWN, New Zealand -- A couple from Sheboygan is stranded in New Zealand as a result of the coronavirus. Emily and Alex Leitheiser had been looking forward to the trip they were supposed to be returning from on March 30 after arriving in early March.

"It is such a beautiful country," said Emily Leitheiser. "It's amazing."

Their dream vacation was interrupted by a pandemic.

"It's just been a really crazy trip," said Emily Leitheiser.

They had plans to backpack and hike through the country.

"This was actually going to be our big last hurrah vacations before we start a family," said Emily Leitheiser.

Emily and Alex Leitheiser

Emily and Alex Leitheiser

As the coronavirus ramped up around the world, and things started to get worse in the United States, life remained relatively normal in New Zealand, until it wasn't.

"It was almost like a light switch went off," said Emily Leitheiser.

New Zealand

New Zealand

The couple tried to make plans to leave the country, but they've been faced with setbacks. FOX6 News spoke with them Sunday, March 29 -- unable to get from Queenstown to Aukland to fly to the United States.

Travel"They canceled all domestic flights except if they say you're essential workers," said Emily Leitheiser.

The couple reached out to the U.S. Embassy in an effort to get back to Wisconsin.

"They said they're going to be advocating on your behalf to get you on one of the domestic flights," said Emily Leitheiser.

So for now, they wait at an Airbnb -- surrounded by the beauty of New Zealand, but feeling the fear of the unknown.

"It's just a really scary feeling, just the uncertainty of everything, not knowing when we can go home," said Emily Leitheiser.

Last week, Vice President Mike Pence announced the State Department was working around the clock to bring Americans home.

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