Austinite struggles to get home after Hurricane Irma hits Caribbean

Hurricane Irma left a path of destruction upon the Caribbean Islands this week, and one Austinite who was vacationing there got stranded.

VIRGIN ISLANDS - Hurricane Irma left a path of destruction upon the Caribbean Islands this past week, and one Austinite who was vacationing there got stranded.

Victoria Fitzpatrick planned a trip to the United States Virgin Islands in St. Thomas.

“We planned in February to go down to St. Thomas, my boyfriend and I, just for vacation, she said. "So months and months ahead of time."

Fitzpatrick arrived last Saturday, knowing there was a chance Hurricane Irma could be making landfall in days to come.

"I thought the way the hurricane was moving, we were getting out right before it hit, but I think it kind of sped up which kind of ruined our plan,” Fitzpatrick said.

By day four, Fitzpatrick and her boyfriend felt they couldn't stay any longer because Irma's path was getting closer.

“And I call my parents and like, 'You have to get out now! Go to airport, pack your things now, and just get out!'”

The airport soon shutdown, and Fitzpatrick and hundreds of others were stranded at hotels.

The Austinite documented the entire trip, snapping photos from outside her hotel showing strong winds that ripped off walls from buildings, downed trees and stirred up heavy debris.

"The ocean -- I have never seen anything like it in my entire life, it was shocking,” she added.

It wasn't until Friday when a window of opportunity opened.

The waters were calm enough to ferry people over to Puerto Rico, where the airport is still operating.

"I think when we all get home it's going to take effect and -- it hurts,” Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick says now that hundreds have been transferred out, the resources hotels used for them can now be given to those who need it the most.

She is expected to take a flight back to Austin on Monday. 

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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