ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (KXAN) — An Austinite is trapped in St. Thomas Friday, after enduring the eye of Hurricane Irma.
Victoria Fitzpatrick was on vacation this week and tried to fly home to Texas before the hurricane hit, but wasn’t able to get a flight out in time. So she sought shelter on the island and hoped for the best.
“We had a great couple days and then we tried to fly out, but there was nothing. We tried,” said Fitzpatrick. “They moved us down to the third floor and we just kind of hid out in the hallways.”
Fitzpatrick says the experience was like nothing she’s ever been through.
“The ocean waves were massive. Palm trees were bent in half, everything’s flying — gone. Things were swirling in the wind. It felt like something out of a movie,” she added. “I was just sitting there waiting for it to end. I was just scared for what was to come afterwards — the lack of supplies, and the unknown.”
Hurricane Irma hit her Virgin Island hotel on Wednesday, knocking out power. That’s when she says panic set in.
“I think the worst part was during the hurricane when someone just screamed ‘Run!’ and people came barreling towards us,” said Fitzpatrick.
Concerns for possible electrical fires and potential debris dangers on the hotel property have continued well into Friday.
“A lot of us here are just still in shock,” she said. “It doesn’t even feel real.”
Fitzpatrick says the damage at her resort is extensive, but she’s grateful to be alive. Now her emotions have turned to fear, as supplies there are limited and the threat of additional storms — including the impact of Jose — are becoming more realistic possibilities.
“We just want to go home. We just want to go home really bad,” Fitzpatrick said, getting emotional. “We’re just trying to get to Puerto Rico and get home somehow.”
She is now waiting for the Coast Guard to give the all clear for a ferry to pick her up so she and her friends can be transported to San Juan, where they’re told the airport there is functional.
At last report Friday evening, Fitzpatrick has boarded a shuttle to take her to the ferry site. However, it’s not clear when she’ll depart the island and arrive in Puerto Rico.