Escape from Los Cabos: Some Canadians return, some stuck in hurricane zone

Days after Hurricane Odile swept over Mexico's Baja peninsula, hundreds of vacationers have made it home. But a number of Canadians are still stranded in the stricken resort town.

Martial law declared in Mexico's Baja peninsula amid water shortages, looting

More than 300 Canadians were affected by Hurricane Odile, says Dept. of Foreign Affairs 2:38

Days after Hurricane Odile swept over Mexico's Baja peninsula, hundreds of vacationers have made it home. But a number of Canadians are still stranded in the stricken resort area, where water and electricity are still in short supply and looting and lawlessness have taken over.

Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs says it is aware of over 300 Canadians who were in the Los Cabos area, on the peninsula's southern tip, when the storm hit late Sunday night.

"An estimated 200 Canadians have already departed the affected areas via rescue flights operated by the Mexican government and private charter companies," the department said in a statement.

Krysta Cochrane, who just returned with her mother, Nancy, from the town of Cabo San Lucas said they were stranded for four days in their resort hotel, with little information coming in or going out.

Krysta Cochrane was trapped with her mother at the five-star Riu resort hotel in Cabo San Lucas when Hurricane Odile struck Sunday. (CBC)

"There were times where I thought I was going to die. It was that scary," she told CBC News host Andrew Chang.

She said the night of the hurricane, it sounded "like a freight train" was rolling above her, and her ears and head ached from the noise and air pressure. But the scary part came days later, after the hotel ran out of supplies.

"There were still small rations of food that were provided once or twice a day, but they ran out of water on Tuesday," she said. "Everyone was so thirsty."

Cochrane said there are still babies, children and seniors stuck in Los Cabos, and Canada needs to do something to bring them home.

'The problem is no longer the hurricane'

There were reports of gunfire Wednesday overnight, and residents in some LosCabos neighbourhoods lit large bonfires to try to protect their property.

"The problem is no longer the hurricane," resident David Garcia said in a radio interview, as reported by The Associated Press. "Everything started with the looting. Not even eight hours had passed since the hurricane before people started destroying stores."

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      Federal police on Thursday vowed to restore order and crack down on looters, saying they would stop and question anyone on the streets after nightfall to make sure they had legitimate business at that hour.

      Some international rescue flights to Canada began leaving Los Cabos' heavily damaged international airport Wednesday night. Officials say the airport is being powered by an emergency generator.

      The U.S. State Department advised stranded travellers to go to the airport soon as possible and be prepared to wait as long as necessary to get on a flight out.

      Tourism Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu said 8,000 people, including tourists and locals anxious to leave, would be flown out Thursday.

      The Mexican navy is helping supply food, mattresses, blankets and hot meals prepared in mobile kitchens.

      Civil protection officials reported that the town of Bahia deLosAngeles in the state of Baja California was cut off because of storm damage to the only highway serving it.

      People with their jugs in tow, stand in line at a gas station in Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos, Mexico, on Sept. 17. Water and electricity service remained out on Thursday and phone service was intermittent. Officials said some 2,500 power poles were toppled by Odile, which struck on Sunday as a Category 3 hurricane. (Victor R. Caivano/Associated Press)

      With files from the Associated Press and the CBC's Bal Brach