National Guard rescues Cincinnati couple stuck at St. Maarten resort after Hurricane Irma

Posted at 5:55 PM, Sep 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-10 21:04:52-04

CINCINNATI -- A Bond Hill couple stuck at a St. Maarten resort after Hurricane Irma were rescued by the National Guard, their daughter said. 

Kea Frazier said her dad, Brian Hilson, and his wife, Gormah, were honeymooning when Category 5 Irma blasted the island.

Frazier said on Sunday the couple is now safe in Punta Cana. 

The Hilsons had tried to make if off the island before the hurricane hit, but it was too late.

"There were no more flights available to get back out,” Frazier said. 

The couple made it through the storm, but they were stuck at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino for several days. The hotel, located on the Dutch side of the island, is severely damaged. 

Hurricane Irma also caused extensive damage at the world-famous Princess Juliana International Airport, leaving it inaccessible, The Washington Post reported. The resort told WCPO they were considering several evacuation plans with government officials.

Before the storm hit, resort guests were advised to take their passports, medication and comfortable clothing to internal conference rooms, the resort posted on their Facebook page.

Frazier said her dad told her hotel staff put up steel doors in the conference rooms.

"They were kind of hunkered down,” Frazier said. “They were holding the doors, trying to keep the doors from coming open."

Twelve hours later, the resort posted that all guests and staff are safe and remain in safe areas.

Still, Frazier was concerned about when her family will make it home.

Crews worked to clear and repair the airport, according to the U.S. Consulate in St. Marteen.

In the meantime, the resort told WCPO they have diesel fuel for generators and their kitchens are open to provide food to their guests at the resort and two shelters. 

"The Sonesta St. Maarten executive team and management are doing their best to assist our guests to remain safe, secure, and as comfortable as possible until they can depart Sint Maarten: this is our primary concern," the resort said in a written statement.

Cell phone service has been working sporadically on the island, according to the resort's statement. 

Concerned family members can visit this website to give information about relatives stuck on the island.