Hurricane Irma: Londoner tells of her fears for missing family of 4

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A London woman today told of her fears for her family, caught up in Hurricane Irma.

With communications down following the Category 5 storm, Cayley Smit, her husband Justin, and children Lily and Rylan have not been heard from since Tuesday when Irma passed over the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, one of the worst-hit areas.

Mrs Smit’s sister Taryn Pile — who is from South Africa and lives in London — told Sky News the family’s relatives were “sick with worry”.

She said: “The family, and the families waiting to hear, are just going crazy at the moment. We are sick with worry. We feel absolutely helpless so far away. We want to do something but can’t.” Her sister’s family had headed to a house in the hills, which had “good hurricane defences”, Ms Pile said.

“We were warned we would lose communication in the storm, but we were hoping once it had passed we would get messages. It is just a very, very, long, terrible waiting game.”

British man Phil Nelson has not been seen since the hurricane hit Tortola. In an online appeal, friend Clare Kennedy said: “The last we heard from Phil was he was boarding himself in his house and taking shelter in the bathroom — what has happened since that?”

Government buildings left abandoned after Hurricane Irma destruction

Two British women, Asha Frank, 29, and seven-month pregnant sister Afiya, 27, who went missing on the Caribbean island of Barbuda, have been found safe and well, their aunt said today. Ruth Bolton had previously called on Richard Branson to help find her family, adding “The silence is unbearable.”

It is believed the sisters are now among hundreds evacuating Barbuda as yet another storm, Hurricane Jose, heads towards the island.

Stranded British holidaymakers today pleaded with travel companies to “just get us home”. Megan Adams, 19, said her attempts to arrange an early flight home with travel company Thomson have been unsuccessful. She said: “They have been useless. Customer phone lines have just been hanging up. They really need a plan, and fast.”

In a statement Thomson said: “The health and safety of our customers, crew and destination teams is our primary focus.”


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