Local couple survives Irma impact on Caribbean Island

ST. MARTIN, Anguilla (WSAV) – Hurricane Irma left a trail of destruction on the Carribean Islands. The storm pummelled St. Martin, a popular tourist destination, where Pooler residents Carlos and Dawn Berrios were when Irma hit.

“The wind was like we’ve never heard before,” Carlos says, “Scariest time you could imagine.”

Carlos, Dawn and their friend Carol Basch were woken up by the wind at 4 a.m. They immediately rushed to the bathroom to take cover but feared that the roof and walls would cave.

“At that point, we saw the ceiling and the wall about to give. You could see light coming through,” Carlos says.

Instead, they went downstairs to seek help from their neighbors.

But when they opened a door, it created a wind tunnel which caused the roof to collapse on top of them.

For two hours they held out in a bathroom, battling the winds.

“It was a force that I had never felt,” Carlos explains, “I’m a 200-pound man and that door was moving whichever way it wanted to.”

When the eye of the storm settled on them, Carlos, Dawn and Carol made their way outside.

They met up with 15 other residents who were also in the villa and decided to retreat down a hillside into the main resort.

The Pooler couple was not stuck on the island for much longer. Luckily, they were able to get to Puerto Rico via Phoenix Air.

“I truly don’t understand how our names got on that manifest,” Carlos says, “Whoever did that — thank God for them.”

They were among 1,000 other individuals waiting to hear their name on the manifest, and Carlos and Dawn were the first to load onto a C-130 plane to Puerto Rico.

Carlos says, “that C-130 crew did everything they could to take as many people as they possibly could.”

But they are left with heavy hearts, knowing the outcome of Hurricane Irma’s wrath.

“I’ve never seen the destruction, the devastation […] the material damage that these islands have gone through is unheard of,” says Dawn.

The couple now waits in Puerto Rico, hoping to come back home to Pooler on Thursday.


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