Ter­ror of Cuba trip cou­ple trapped by hur­ri­cane

Rossendale Free Press - - Front Page - STUART PIKE

STUART PIKE

ADREAM hol­i­day turned into a ter­ri­fy­ing or­deal for a cou­ple who were left trapped in their ho­tel room for four days by Hur­ri­cane Irma.

Dis­abled mum Jenny Marie Hill and partner An­thony Broad­bent, of Bacup, were stuck on Cuba’s dev­as­tated north west coast after the force five hur­ri­cane struck. Flights out of the is­land were de­layed, mean­ing an ag­o­nis­ing few days for for­mer Dis­abil­ity Eng­land swim­mer Jenny, who suf­fers with lu­pus and whose med­i­ca­tion ran out last Satur­day.

She up­dated wor­ried friends and fam­ily with by email, what­sapp and so­cial me­dia.

Email­ing us from her stricken ho­tel on Mon­day, Jenny wrote: “It is aw­ful here, no elec­tric­ity no water. No air con­di­tion­ing - stuck in our room since Fri­day.

“The storm it­self was fright­en­ing - I be­lieve peo­ple even rang home and said their good­byes.

“The ho­tel are do­ing their best to clean up the dam­age, but ap­par­ently peo­ple sleep­ing rough in ho­tel lob­bies as not enough rooms.”

ADREAM hol­i­day turned into a ter­ri­fy­ing or­deal for a cou­ple who were left trapped in their ho­tel room for four days by Hur­ri­cane Irma.

Dis­abled mum Jenny Marie Hill and partner An­thony Broad­bent, of Bacup, were stuck in dev­as­tated Va­radero on Cuba’s north west coast after the force five hur­ri­cane struck.

The storm caused wide­spread dev­as­ta­tion across the Caribbean and south­east­ern United States, with re­ports sug­gest­ing that around 10 peo­ple in Cuba were killed.

Flights out of the is­land were de­layed, mean­ing an ag­o­nis­ing few days for for­mer Dis­abil­ity Eng­land swim­mer Jenny, who suf­fers with lu­pus and whose med­i­ca­tion ran out last Satur­day.

Jenny, of New­line, had earlier en­joyed swim­ming with dol­phins after jet­ting out to cel­e­brate her 33rd birth­day with An­thony, be­fore the hur­ri­cane struck.

She up­dated wor­ried friends and fam­ily with the lat­est sit­u­a­tion on so­cial me­dia. Email­ing us from her stricken ho­tel on Mon­day, Jenny wrote: “It is aw­ful here, no elec­tric­ity no water. No air con­di­tion­ing - stuck in our room since Fri­day.

“The storm it­self was fright­en­ing - I be­lieve peo­ple even rang home and said their good­byes.

“The ho­tel are do­ing their best to clean up the dam­age, but ap­par­ently peo­ple sleep­ing rough in ho­tel lob­bies as not enough rooms.”

In a des­per­ate mes­sage on Face­book, she posted: “Be­ing told it would be over after one night, the night­mare con­tin­ues to worsen.

“Night two, and this is so much more worse than you could ever imag­ine.

“The air be­comes thick, and the hor­rific howl­ing of the wind out­side is re­lent­less. Water is now pour­ing in through the pa­tio doors.”

Jenny, whose daugh­ter Olivia, eight, stayed at home told us on Tues­day she was un­well as doc­tors had been un­able to find suit­able medicine to treat her con­di­tion.

The cou­ple’s hol­i­day firm Thomas Cook ini­tially ad­vised that all pas­sen­gers would be flown home on Satur­day evening.

How­ever, with Irma rag­ing un­til Sun­day, flights out of Va­radero were de­layed.

The op­er­a­tor’s first ‘evac­u­a­tion flight’ to Cuba de­parted on Mon­day and Jenny and An­thony even­tu­ally ar­rived back at Manch­ester Air­port on Wed­nes­day - four days after the hur­ri­cane hit the coun­try.

Jenny’s sis­ter Ja­nine Hall, of Shaw­forth, told us last week she was afraid for their safety, say­ing: “Vir­gin, Air Canada and all the travel op­er­a­tors have sent res­cue flights. I’ve had her on what­sapp cry­ing and telling me to tell her fam­ily that she loves them. I con­tacted Thomas Cook Care and said ‘why is my dis­abled, poorly sis­ter aban­doned in Cuba with no con­tact’? [Jenny] said the ma­jor­ity of [the ho­tel] staff are pack­ing up and leav­ing so they’re not leav­ing for noth­ing. They’ve put pa­per on the win­dows and there’s been sand­bags ev­ery­where.”

When con­tacted, Thomas Cook said: “The storm passed through Va­radero on Sun­day, which meant that the air­port re­mained closed. We be­gan evac­u­at­ing our cus­tomers as soon as it was open and safe to do so this week. The safety of our cus­tomers is al­ways our first pri­or­ity.”

They had pre­vi­ously ad­vised: “All of our ho­tels are built to with­stand a hur­ri­cane, so our cus­tomers will be safe in their ho­tels.

“Cus­tomers who were stay­ing in an­other area have been evac­u­ated to Va­radero as that is con­sid­ered more safe. Air Canada has a very dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion – they are only three hours away so can send in short haul planes to evac­u­ate.”

l● Jenny Hill and An­thony Broad­bent (top) were stuck in their ho­tel in Cuba (above) when Hur­ri­cane Irma struck

Jenny Hill and partner An­thony Broad­bent pic­tured be­fore the hur­ri­cane struck, be­low, dam­age caused to the cou­ple’s ho­tel

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