Hurricane Dorian killed ‘plenty good people’

MARSH HARBOUR, Abaco – Stevenson Swain, an elderly man from Dundas Town, was one of many residents to have near-death experiences as the deadly winds of Hurricane Dorian roared outside their windows last week.

“What happened as I was able to put it together, my neighbor’s house collapsed,” said Swain with a blank stare as he sat in a wheelchair.

“A piece of the plywood flew off of that and struck me in my head. I lost consciousness.

“I heard when my wife said, ‘The roof is going.’

“I saw when it got bright and I found myself in a pool of water.”

Swain, who was waiting to board an evacuation flight from Marsh Harbour International Airport, became emotional as he recalled the harrowing events during Dorian.

As tears flowed onto his cheek, he said, “I put my hand over my face and prayed to God that he don’t let the plywood blow off because I had no way of protecting my face. Then, the eye [of the hurricane] came over.”

Swain paused, taking a moment to compose himself.

He wiped the tears from his face.

“My neighbors saw that the roof was gone and they climbed up across and saw me down there and helped me because I am a diabetic,” Swain said.

“They picked me up because I had no strength left and they lifted me and they hauled me out.”

His voice began to tremble again.

Swain said many of his friends received similar injuries during the storm.

However, they did not survive.

“One very good friend got struck in his head and he died,” he said.

“His sister, a house fell on her and she was knocked unconscious. I have many friends and family members [who] died and many lived. That was hard.”

Swain said he had “a dear and special friend” whose house collapsed on her.

“I’ve heard about friends sucked out of windows [who] died,” he said.

“It’s hard. They found close family members in the house drowned.”

Swain said he spent four days trying to get to a clinic for treatment.

He said employees of Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) opened their office and welcomed him.

Swain described them as “nice and courteous”.

“Her name is Lightfoot,” he said, referring to one of the employees.

“She helped clean, wash [my wound] and put first aid… Finally, couple of days later, I got to the clinic and they dressed it. The way the people came together, it was wonderful but a sad experience.”

Swain said Dorian killed “plenty good people”.

Dorian caused extensive damage in Abaco and Grand Bahama, making landfall first on Elbow Cay with sustained winds of 185 miles per hour and gusts over 220 miles per hour.

The wind speed made Dorian the second strongest hurricane on record in the Atlantic.

The death toll was 50 up to yesterday, but authorities warned it will be much higher.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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