Pair’s holiday hell as Irma hit Cuba
GB ATHLETES FORCED TO HOLE UP IN HOTEL FOR TWO DAYS AS HURRICANE RAGED
TWO young Team GB athletes had to shelter from Hurricane Irma in a hotel room in Cuba with six other people for 48 hours.
High jumper Emily Borthwick, 20, and her pole vaulter boyfriend Harry Coppell, 21, a former world youth champion, had only cheese and ham sandwiches to eat and a litre-and-a-half of water to drink.
The couple, from Wigan, who were on a two-week holiday to relax after the athletics season, were evacuated from their idyllic resort in Cayo Santa Maria to another hotel in Varadero further up the coast as Irma closed in.
Emily said their room flooded and together, the eight of them put mattresses up against the window to prevent glass smashing. Harry slept on the floor and Emily slept on the floor of the bathroom.
The couple spoke of their horrendous ordeal as they arrived back at Manchester Airport alongside hundreds of other passengers who were caught up in the deadly storm.
Parents waited anxiously at the arrivals lounge at Terminal Two and raced to hug their loved ones.
Emily told how her parents were sending them over advice and updates on Irma via text messages.
The hurricane battered Cuba, leaving an estimated 10 people dead, before going on to wreak havoc in Florida in the US.
Emily said: “The wind was howling when we were locked in the room and the apartments were like concrete blocks. It looked like a prison.
“We were told later that there was no way to get to our original resort any more. It was just awful.”
Harry added: “It was scary to sit through. What annoyed us was that other people travelling with different companies were flown home from Cuba. That really annoyed us.
“We arrived in Varadero last Thursday and were told that we were going to be safe. We were told that it would be a tropical storm. We had a meeting on the Friday and they said that from that night, we had to stay in our rooms - 48 hours in a room.
“We ended up sharing with six others because we thought it would pass the time quicker. We woke up one morning to a couple of inches of water in the room. We only had oneand-a-half litres of fresh water and ham and cheese sandwiches.”
The UK relief effort to help Caribbean communities has been given extra funding as Theresa May defended her government against accusations it reacted too slowly.
Emily Borthwick and Harry Coppell, back in Britain