Newfoundlanders safe after losing contact with family during Hurricane Maria – Newfoundland & Labrador

Two women are breathing huge sighs of relief after finally hearing from their husbands, who were stuck on the storm torn island of Dominica, following 48 long hours without contact.

Hurricane Maria struck the island earlier this week, and Craig Coffin and Bassem Eid — who were staying in the same hotel — quickly lost touch with their wives, Kathy Coffin and Anita Carroll, back home in St. John’s.

Both men were in Dominica on business when the storm hit.

When Carroll last spoke to her husband on Monday, he was huddled under a desk in his room, on the top floor of his hotel, as the storm passed overhead. 

For two days, the women stood by in St. John’s with little new information, hoping for the best, but fearing the worst.

“I hope I never ever have to go through anything like that again. It was just so stressful not knowing if they were OK and not being able to talk with them,” said Caroll.

Hotel roof flew off during storm

While they weren’t surprised they lost contact during the storm, both Carroll and Coffin said the little news they were hearing heightened their worries. 

“The next piece of info [after losing contact] was a Facebook post on the hotel’s page of one of the guests saying the roof had come off the fifth floor,” said Carroll.

Coffin and Eid are expected to be transported to Barbados from the island of Dominica, pictured here on Sept. 19. (Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency via Reuters)

With their husbands staying on that floor, it was hard not to assume the worst had happened.

“You can’t help but go to those dark places,” said Coffin.

“Knowing that the roof had come off and that he was on the fifth floor. As soon as those [negative] thoughts would come in, I had to push them out.”

Finally made contact

While they waited for more information, both women — who had never met before this week — stayed connected through a Facebook group dedicated to people looking for loved ones in Dominica.

Coffin said the site was helpful in some ways, but ultimately more anxiety inducing then anything else. 

“It really felt pretty helpless. We’re so used to having information and contact communication at our fingertips that it felt really helpless not to be able to really get anything.” said Coffin. 

Damaged homes from Hurricane Maria are shown in this aerial photo over the island of Dominica from Sept. 19, 2017. (Nigel R. Browne/Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency via Reuters)

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