Morecambe couple still stranded in Cuba
A Morecambe couple are still stuck in Cuba after the island was battered by Hurricane Irma.
Newlyweds Tony and Sam Baines from Morecambe have been waiting a week to leave the Caribbean island after their romantic holiday turned into a nightmare.
The 130mph winds struck the Caribbean last week as it destroyed homes and wiped out the island of Barbuda.
Sam and Tony were moved to another hotel in Cuba as their five-star accommodation was ravaged by Hurricane Irma which has so far killed 38 people.
The couple, who took shelter in a hotel bathroom for 24 hours, say they just want to be home with their families.
On Thursday the couple reported via Facebook that they had been moved to a different resort, and that families were starting to be evacuated.
However Tony and Sam were still stranded in a hotel in intense temperatures awaiting further instruction.
As of Friday evening – mid-afternoon in Cuba – Tony said hotel staff were taping up windows, boarding up the front of the hotel and telling holidaymakers to remain in their bathrooms until further notice.
It is thought they were to be moved again to Havana before being flown home.
The couple are alone on their holiday but Sam, who works at Lancaster University, has a daughter due to start university while Tony has three children.
Tony said the island is like “a war zone” and they took shelter in their hotel bathroom for 24 hours.
“It’s been horrendous,” he said.
“We were in the bathroom with no water or food for 24 hours, it was like being in a prison cell.
“It is so sad for the locals as we have something to go home to, they have carnage.
“The original resort Playa Pilar has completely gone but the rep here, Karen, has been brilliant but nobody is telling her anything either. People are getting angry and frustrated and we just want to be home with our families now.”
Sam described the scenes as “total chaos” and the pair videoed the growing panic among holidaymakers.
The newlyweds have now been informed that all roads and airports have been badly affected.
Speaking on Facebook on Monday, Sam said: “Thomas Cook have flights but are unable to leave Manchester until they sort airports over here, we are okay and we have got through the worst.
“The hotel is wrecked and rooms are flooded but we are okay.”
Tony added: “The government are not letting us fly home.
“We were transferred on Thursday after being told to be ready for 9am to eventually get on a coach at 5pm taking seven hours to Varadero, to a hotel which is run down, from our luxury five -tar.
“Nobody is telling us anything, just that if it comes to close the curtains and lock yourself in the bathroom.
“We are due not to fly home until Wednesday but officials are not helping us in the slightest.
“It’s like the blind leading the blind.”
The couple have been informed that Varadero Airport, the second largest airport in Cuba, is shut until September 12.
At least 38 people have died as Hurricane Irma, described as the most powerful ever Atlantic hurricane, has caused devastation across much of the Caribbean.
The storm battered the
island at the weekend, with the majority of the victims being killed by collapsing buildings.
President Raul Castro of Cuba said recovery would be an “immense task.”
Irma, which hit Florida as a category four hurricane on Sunday, has now been downgraded to a tropical storm.