NewsRegion C Palm Beach CountyWest Palm Beach


West Palm Beach woman anxiously waits for family in the Bahamas to be rescued

Posted at 5:28 PM, Sep 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-06 16:11:28-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — It took almost 48 hours for a West Palm Beach woman to hear from her family in the Bahamas.

Like many, they survived the storm, but lost everything. Now, hours matter as they wait on an island of Man-O-War Cay to be rescued.

"I can't wait to have my family here so I can touch them," said Janet Berrong, who lives in West Palm Beach.

Berrong has her eyes glued to a Facebook page providing news updates directly from Man-O-War Cay where her family lives. In a photo posted, Berrong spotted her mother and stepfather's home, or what's left of it.

"The whole half of their house is gone. It just blew off the back," said Berrong.

She said her family prepared for the storm, but that didn't matter after Dorian intensified into a Category 5 hurricane.

"The last conversation I had with them, they were putting up the last efforts on the house to make sure everything was safe. They were preparing for the worst, but never thought a Category 5," said Berrong.

Nearly 48 hours went by before Berrong heard from any of her family on the island.

"My first communication was with my sister-in-law the night after they had a satellite phone, one for the whole island. So they briefly spoke and just said that they're alive and everything is gone," said Berrong.

The island she knew and once loved to vacation at is unrecognizable. Her favorite spots are gone.

"To think that the Bahamas who have worked and lived there their whole life and to now wake up the next day and everything they have, their house, their job, their careers, their craft is gone. I don't know what they're going to do. What do you do?" said Berrong.

She showed us a picture of what the island in the Abaco region used to look like, only about two and half miles long and narrow, cushioned between the harbor and beach side. She said debris from boats tossed and sunk by the storm have made rescue missions nearly impossible.

"There's no way anybody can get to them other than helicopter," added Berrong.

She can't wait for her family to get out of there and settle in West Palm Beach with her. Berrong doesn't see how life in Man-O-War can go on right now.

"By the looks of it and what I see and know, there's nothing left. There's nothing to sustain life there," Berrong said.