Midlands couple caught in the thick of Hurricane Irma
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH)-- A Midlands couple was caught in the thick of Hurricane Irma says they are thankful to be back home.
When Rivers Fennell and his girlfriend Maryland Black arrived at St. Martin, it started as a normal vacation, but then reports of Hurricane Irma quickly became reality.
"We'll just go down to the airport, book some flights, and go to another island. Airlines didn't agree with that too much. We couldn't get off the island, and it got closer and closer and closer."
"We had no idea it was going to turn out to be the worst possible scenario."
Hurricane Irma hit Saint Martin as a category five hurricane, bringing powerful winds and rain.
During the eye of Irma, the damage was devastating but they and others had to figure out how to survive.
"I remember putting towels under the front door because water was shooting through the door. Then the ceiling started lifting up."
"We had a group meeting everyday. And compare what this person heard to what that person heard."
Thanks to several calls back home, the United States Air-Force was able to come in and take the couple and several others back.
"When you see that plane come in with that big American flag on it. A whole sense of relief just comes over you. Everybody's was screaming and yelling. There was a lot of emotion over there."
"When we got that first shower. And then I think we ordered chicken tenders and french fries. It's the little things you forget are the big things."
Now that they're back home, Fennell and Black say it was an experience they'll never forget.
"We had no clue that we were in the worst possible scenario." "Basically, if you're within 500 miles of those squiggly lines, don't go!"
South Carolina had 24 shelters open overnight with more than 1,000 people. Many of those locations started closings, including Dent Middle School.
As of the writing of this article, there are shelters open in the Midlands area, Corner Stone Church and Lake Marion High School.