Local couple stranded on St. Martin after Hurricane Irma
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - As Hurricane Irma barreled through the Caribbean, it devastated part of the Leeward Islands.
Saint Martin is two separate countries, divided between its northern French side and its southern Dutch side. A recently married local couple just went there on their honeymoon, and now they're stuck. A wedding of their dreams turned into a nightmare honeymoon.
Brian and Gormah Hilson have been able to call loved ones in Cincinnati, though phone service is spotty. They describe a situation that's pretty rough. Brian says they're being forced to work, not vacation. The Hilson’s are stuck in a hotel conference room turned shelter saying "we are no longer guests."
Brian described his situation a phone call to his daughter Kea Frazier. She says they are the Sonesta Ocean Point resort and need help getting out. The hotel's website says it's doing its best to help guests quote "remain safe, secure and as comfortable as possible.”
Brian says things are a lot different they are a shelter for island residents who don’t have a home.
"So now we are the base camp and we will be serving them. They said we aren't to leave and if we leave they won't allow us back on," said Brian.
Through "facetime" chats with his daughter, Brian says he's being told they being told they need to work and food is being rationed.
"Serving women and children first, then workers. We have to sign form to say we will work and if you don't, you'll be last on the list to eat," said Brian.
Kea says she's hearing it could be at least four weeks before the couple is able to come home. The Princess Juliana airport which they flew into was hit hard. Local authorities describe the small island as 95-percent destroyed.
The family has been reaching out to everyone, and every agency like the Red Cross and US Coast Guard with no luck so far.
"Even if we can get him to the next safest island to fly him out, at this point whatever I have to do," said Kea.