It’s a vacation to forget for Adam Chafe and his girlfriend Jennifer Brake. The western Newfoundland couple was stranded in St. Maarten when Hurricane Irma swept through the Caribbean island earlier this month.
They’re angry and disappointed that the federal government provided them no assistance.
The couple arrived in St. Maarten just days before the hurricane struck. By the time they got word of how severe the impact could be, it was too late to find flights out of the area. Instead the couple sat in their hotel room while Irma destroyed much of the island.
“Terrifying is the way I can describe — just terrifying,” said Brake, who added they spent the night of the hurricane huddled in their hotel bathroom, watching as water poured through the ceiling and spilled underneath the bathroom door of their eighth-floor room.
“The pressure in our room was so strong we couldn’t even get the hotel room door open to get out of our room. It’s something I never want to experience again in my life. Never.”
The couple is back home in Corner Brook this week, but they had a longer stay than they wanted in the aftermath of Irma.
Despite the relief of being home, the two say they were let down by their country for not getting them, and other Canadians, out sooner.
“It seemed like we were forgotten about, or the government was happy to let somebody else take care of it for them,” said an emotional Chafe on the Corner Brook Morning Show.
“They waited for the commercial flights to return to do their job, as far as I’m concerned.”
Monitoring the situation
The Corner Brook couple waited in line at the airport — once flights started taking passengers off the island — for six hours only to be turned away at the front of the line after they were told no Canadian flights were coming to the area.
Instead they watched as other countries airlifted their citizens, while they had to head back to their hurricane-ravaged hotel.
“I would’ve given anything to get out of there — anything,” says Brake. “We didn’t even care how much it cost us to get home. We just wanted to get home.”
The couple say they had no luck dealing with the Canadian embassy, or Global Affairs Canada.
Chafe says the response from government was “we’re…