NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Two Nashvillians said they were lucky to be alive, and grateful to be home after surviving Hurricane Irma’s wrath in St. Thomas.
Rob Turner, the managing attorney at Turner Law Offices, and Jay Jones, the COO of Turner Law Offices, were vacationing in St. Thomas for eight days before the hurricane hit.
By the time they realized they were in the direct path of the storm, it was too late to evacuate, and they couldn’t get any flights off the island. They were forced to hunker down inside their condo building, while the category 5 storm moved in.
“We saw it, heard it and felt it,” said Rob Turner. “Everything started rocking. It got more and more violent.”
“It went on for six or seven hours,” added Jay Jones. “Constant wind was pounding and the building was shaking.”
After the storm passed, they said the aftermath was just as shocking. They opened their door to discover the top floor of their condo building was destroyed, balconies were ripped off the building, and the destruction was widespread.
While they waited on help to arrive, the helped rescue their neighbors from the condo building. They also worked with other residents at the resort who had generators to help provide food to people in the area.
“We helped feed 150 to 200 people for two days,” said Jones.
Still no flights were getting off the island, and the two men were stuck.
“We got rebooked or cancelled three or four times,” said Jones. “I think that kept adding to the frustration. We weren't sure if we were ever going to get out.”
Sunday, a FBI boat rescued them and took them to Puerto Rico where they were able to catch a flight back to the states. They arrived home Monday night.
Both Turner and Jones said they their thoughts remain with people on the island. The recovery process will be long.
“It is such a tourist driven economy, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Turner. “We’re seeing water and meals being sent down there. It will take awhile to come back.”