St. Louis natives trapped in Hurricane Irma heading home

Four people from the St. Louis area are desperately trying to get home after Irma.

ST. LOUIS - It was supposed to be a fun family vacation by the beach.

But just a few days in, it turned out to be anything but.

"There's no water. There's no airport. There's no power unless you're lucky enough to have a generator," said Lindsay Whitten of Collinsville.

Whitten is referring to her four relatives who are just now making it home from St. Thomas after being trapped there during Hurricane Irma.

"They took it seriously. They definitely went out and got what they needed for the preparations," Whitten said.

She said her two sisters and their significant others arrived on the island last Sunday for a scheduled trip, but couldn't make it off in time before the historic storm made landfall as a category five hurricane.

"Like when space ships come down in the movies, they said that's what it sounded like," Whitten said. "All the pressure. My sister had messaged and said it was getting really bad."

That message was the last time anyone heard from the group of four for about 24 hours.

The damage and destruction from Irma presented more challenges, like using a cell phone or getting a flight home.

"The hikes, the walks, the things they have to climb over and under just to get cell service. The island is a complete disaster," Whitten said.

Whitten said she's spent the last week desperately trying to get her family home, often turning to social media websites that have been set up to get the latest island information.

"There's no moment of setting your phone down. You're on all the social media webpages, just looking at the videos," she explained.

She said the calls with her sisters have been few and far between. But it looks like they've finally had a stroke of luck.

Whitten said after a few failed attempts at missing boats to get off the island because they're overrun with natives trying to escape, her family finally caught one to Puerto Rico.

"I was praying she'd be on that boat," Whitten said.

The hope is they'll be able to get back to the states by late this week and home to the St. Louis region by the weekend.

© 2017 KSDK-TV


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