Metro East couples stuck on St. Thomas island after Hurricane Ir - KMOV.com

Metro East couples stuck on St. Thomas island after Hurricane Irma

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Two sisters and their significant others from Maryville, Illinois have been stuck on St. Thomas for over a week after Hurricane made landfall on Wednesday. Two sisters and their significant others from Maryville, Illinois have been stuck on St. Thomas for over a week after Hurricane made landfall on Wednesday.
MARYVILLE, Ill. (KMOV.com) -

Two sisters and their significant others from Maryville, Illinois have been stuck on St. Thomas for over a week after Hurricane made landfall on Wednesday.

Ashley and Ben Timmons and Kelsey Bridgewater and her boyfriend Ben Adams had no idea a relaxing vacation would turn into working daily to survive. Now, the third sister, Lindsay Whitten, who stayed behind in Maryville, is working hard to get them on a plane home.

"It's just been emotional. I can't tell you how many tears I've shed...my family has shed," said Whitten.

When Irma hit, the couples took cell phone video from inside their hotel room and shared it with News 4. Both videos shared with us were only taken an hour apart, between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., but the comparison in wind strength and visibility is drastically different. Whitten said she didn't hear anything from them for an entire day after Irma hit.

"We lost all contact from Wednesday at 10:50 am until Thursday around noon, so it was 24 hours of just gut wrenching pain...are they alive, did they make it through?" said Whitten. 

Eventually, Whitten received the call of survival.

"They said we will never understand or believe what they had to walk through and witness.......just to make that phone call," said Whitten.

However, the worry wasn't quite over yet. The airport in St. Thomas is currently inoperable after the Hurricane, so they cannot fly out. Whitten says she's learned from phone calls with her sisters that resources are limited with no working water on the island and says they are bartering for necessities.

"Trade their beer with maybe their water from somebody else, or maybe they have water they trade for a bar of soap," said Whitten. 

Meanwhile back in Maryville, Whitten and her mom have been taking care of both of the couple's kids, who are too young to really understand what is going on. She says the 2 year old, Jaxson, is only aware that his parents are not around.

"He'll just carry on a conversation and he'll say, 'Ok dad. I love you too, dad.' He's literally having a conversation as if he's imagining them talking to him," said Whitten.

The next step is getting both couples of the island of St. Thomas by boat, to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where there is an operating airport to fly home.

"I know they're going to be home. I just worry about what they're going through, until they can get home," said Whitten.

This family says they are grateful for the resort in St. Thomas because the staff there has lost their homes and risked their lives to stay at the hotel and care for their loved ones. So the family has started a GoFundMe Page to raise money to go directly to the staff of the "Blue Beards Beach Club Resort" to help them rebuild their personal homes.

To donate: https://www.gofundme.com/bluebeards-beachclub-staff-relief

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