Jessical and Annette Dean in St. Maarten. Photo provided

The Category 5 storm, Hurricane Irma, left many devastated and stranded in the Caribbean including survivors Jessical and Annette Dean of Cincinnati, who were spending their 30th wedding anniversary and also celebrating Annette’s birthday at the Divi Little Bay Beach Resort on the island of St. Maarten where they arrived Sept. 2.

The vacation of paradise quickly turned threatening for the Deans as it closed in on the Dutch island in full force on September 7. The airport was closed on Monday, September 6, before the hurricane arrived Tuesday. During the storm, the Deans stayed in an evacuation area at the resort.

Dutch Marines had shown up, but were rescuing Dutch citizens only. The Americans were concerned because they are running out of water and food.

After Irma left her mark, the Deans were scrambling to get home, but the island’s airport was out of commission due to extensive damage.

Their daughter, Aundrea Dean, as well as their pastor, Bishop Bobby Hilton of Word of Deliverance Church in Forest Park, said were very concerned. “There was a lot going on and different people were reporting different things, so they were not sure who or what to believe,” said Aundrea Dean. They had food and water, but were afraid it would run out soon.

Fortunately, the Deans were rescued last Saturday, September 9. They were picked up by a Caribbean ship on Monday, said Hilton.

Aundrea Dean said she has had brief cell phone conversations with her parents since the hurricane, but there was no time for them to go into details about their experience. She hasn’t spoken with her parents since they boarded the ship, but they were expected to return home via a flight from Atlanta late Wednesday or early Thursday.

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