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Locals help with Hurricane devastation

September 19, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Deb Freeman


Local resident and flight attendant Candice Landriaut and her crew were like angels in disguise to those stranded in St Maarten last weekend, when Sunwing Airlines sent two rescue flights to the island to bring back international tourists after the island was devastated by Hurricane Irma.

Candice, a local from Mansfield, has worked for Sunwing for eight years and has been an airline attendant for 25 years.

Speaking to the Free Press, she said, “I have never in all my years in this job been so emotional looking at the devastation in St Maarten and seeing what these people are going through. I was called back from vacation to go down with the plane and my crew and to help in bringing back anybody who needed to get off the island, and get them to safety at nearby Dominican. One family had lived in an abandoned church for three days

“We carried 189 passengers, not necessarily our own holiday makers, just anyone who we could find to bring out of there. It’s tragic.”

Since September 5, Sunwing has sent close to 30 rescue flights to aid the victims of the storm, and people threatened, or in the path of Irma.

Flights were during the day as the island has no hydro, and this was the safest time to land.

The airport is being maintained as best as possible by military from different countries including Canada.

The second flight sent by Sunwing carried a team of five from Global Medic with 1,000 kilos of humanitarian aid.

The charity is trying to restore the drinking water at the island’s hospital.

Sunwing was the first commercial airline to send aid and land on the island since the hurricane.

As we went to press this week, Sunwing’s media department confirmed that they were sending more planes to Cuba to evacuate any remaining people form Varadero and Havana.

The Cuban authorities have advised that the airport will re-open briefly so that aid workers can operate rescue flights.

Donations to help the victims of the hurricane can be made by contacting the Red Cross direct.



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