Edmonton mother and daughter still stranded in Virgin Islands as Hurricane Maria bears down
Angela Thomas and Karlene Lucian already survived Hurricane Irma
The wife and daughter of an Edmonton man are still stranded in the British Virgin Islands as Hurricane Maria approaches.
Normand Boudreau's wife Angela Thomas, sometimes known as Judith, and daughter Karlene Lucian already weathered Hurricane Irma.
The Category 5 hurricane hit Tortola, the largest of the islands on Sept. 6, leaving wrecked cars, uprooted trees and destroyed homes in its wake.
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Their house was among those severely damaged. Thomas and Lucian stayed together in one room with a barricaded door, stuffed with towels to keep the water at bay.
"Thank god we still have our lives," Thomas posted to her Facebook page on September 6 after the worst of the storm had passed.
Hurricane Maria, another Category 5 storm, is expected to pass through Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands this morning. Despite bad cellular service on the island, Boudreau was able to reach his family one last time Tuesday before the second hurricane strikes.
The two were eating fish and rice Tuesday night, laughing with Boudreau even though the storm was approaching.
"I know they don't want to scare me because they're laughing and they say they're strong," he told CBC News. "You pass through a Category 5 maybe one time in your life, but two in a row ... I'm just worried about them."
Canadian rescue efforts 'non-organized'
Thomas and Lucian visit the airport every day, hoping to catch a plane anywhere out of the hurricane's path, Boudreau said. Tortola's airport is still closed for commercial flights and will only allow military aircraft to land.
The mother and daughter initially planned to take a ferry to the American island Saint Thomas, the only one with a working airport. The island is a 20-minute boat ride away.
But a notice sent from the U.S Virgin Islands on Sept. 13 says "only U.S passport holders ... and permanent residents of the United States are being allowed to enter the USVI port at present."
Two days after the hurricane struck, Boudreau said the Canadian government told him they were sending a flight down to Tortola, but only gave him two hours notice. Boudreau said he could not reach his family in time to get them on the flight off the island.
"It was a good intention from the government but maybe a little bit non-organized," he said.
Figures from the Global Affairs Canada say the Canadian government airlifted 1,652 citizens from the Caribbean between Sept. 9 and 13.
Boudreau said the Canadian government called him on Tuesday asking for updates on his wife and daughter, but made no mention of sending more planes to Tortola.
For now, Boudreau and his family will just have to wait and hope this storm too will leave them unscathed.
With files from Evan Dyer