Telling his story of surviving Hurricane Dorian, Stevenson Swain, an elderly man suffering from diabetes, cried quietly as he questioned why God allowed him to survive when so many of his family and friends did not.
Swain, who said he briefly lost consciousness after a piece of debris hit his head during the height of the storm, held his injured head as he recounted the horrors that Dorian visited upon him and his family on Abaco last week.
“I had many friends, same injury,” Stevenson said as he sat in a wheelchair waiting to be airlifted to New Providence from Marsh Harbour on Thursday.
“One very good friend, he was chopped in his head and he died. His sister, the house fell on her and she was knocked unconscious. I have family and friends who died, and many lived. That was hard.
“My neighbor, the surge took the house right off the foundation. They were all running about and the house collapsed on her. She was a dear, special friend. I’ve heard about friends who were sucked out of the window and died. It’s hard. They found close family members in the house drowned. I don’t know why I lived.”
Swain came close to death himself as Dorian unleashed catastrophic winds and storm surges across the island.
“My neighbor’s house collapsed,” he said. “A piece of the plywood flew off of that, struck me and hit me in my head. I lost consciousness. I heard when my wife said the roof is going and I saw when it got bright. I found myself in a pool of water.”
Overcome with emotion as he told the harrowing tale, Swain added, “I held my face and prayed to God that he wouldn’t let the plywood blow off because I had no way of protecting my face.
“And then eye came over and some of my neighbors saw that the roof was gone and they climbed over the belt course and saw me down there… I’m diabetic. They picked me up because I had no strength left and they lifted me and hauled me out.”
He said he eventually sought refuge at Bahamas Power and Light’s office in Marsh Harbour, where a woman there treated his wound.
He eventually got to the clinic a few days later where he was assessed by medical staff there.
Stevenson said he is proud of the way people came together, but said the experience is one he will never forget.
“Many good people died,” he said through sobs. “Many wonderful people. But God is good to me and he answered my prayer.”
Hurricane Dorian, which made landfall on Abaco as a Category 5 storm, is the strongest hurricane to ever hit the northern Bahamas.