Mother and children survived Dorian under a mattress in the tub

Mother and children survived Dorian under a mattress in the tub

Death toll in Abaco expected to rise, confirmed at 20

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Jennifer Shavone Williams, a resident of Treasure Cay, Abaco, ran from room to room with her two children as hurricane force winds from Hurricane Dorian blew in the front door, forcing them to seek refuge in the tub of their bathroom, with only a mattress separating them form the elements of the ferocious Category 5 storm.

“I was so scared,” said Williams, as she wiped away tears, recalling her nightmarish experience.

“Everything just burst right open. We just ran from room to room and everything was just bursting open. We ran in the tub and we had to put a mattress over us to keep ourselves alive. It was just horrifying and I was very scared.”

As her children clung to her in fear, said she continued to pray aloud in hopes of comforting them, as rushing flood waters crashed into the home and the howling winds and thunder became deafening.

Asked how she consoled her children, Williams said, “The only thing I was doing was just praying. That’s the only thing I could think about doing. Even though I was scared, I just prayed and I remember what God said in his word, ‘Who he kept is well kept’. That’s what I did. And the children were just praying also. That’s what we did.”

She could not recall how long she and her family sought refuge in the tub, only saying “I know it was a lot of hours”.

“It felt like everything was just pounding you know,” she said. “Our ears felt like they were ready to burst open. It was just so scary.”

Williams, who was airlifted with her daughter to New Providence earlier today, considered herself among the fortunate.

Seven people have been confirmed dead in Abaco. The death toll expected to rise.

Since Monday, the United States Coast Guard had evacuated 61 people in need of medical treatment from Abaco.

Williams, who said her home sustained extensive damaged and was unlivable, told Eyewitness News that she was still mourning the death of her husband, who died two weeks ago.

She said Dorian dealt her and her family a devastating blow.

Describing what she saw as she was transported from Abaco, Williams said it was just sheer devastation.

“It was terrible,” she recalled.

“This is the worst we have ever had it in Abaco.”

Without power or telecommunications since Monday, Williams was able to contact relatives for the first time since Monday to tell them she and her children were alive and safe.

Many families in The Bahamas and abroad remain desperate to hear from loved ones.

Her oldest son remained on the island and was expected to be transported to New Providence tonight.

Dorian pounded the northern Bahamas late Sunday as one of the strongest storms ever recorded

It struck Elbow Cay, Abaco, around 12:45 p.m. and made landfall near Marsh Harbour around 2 p.m.

Thousands have been displaced, according to authorities, though the total damage remains unclear as officials begin assessments.

Shelters were crowded with survivors.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, government officials and U.S. Charge d’Affaires Stephanie Bowers performed a flyover Abaco on Tuesday in a U.S. Coast Guard aircraft. He later told the media that 60 percent of Marsh Harbour was destroyed, while other communities were either flattened or remained submerged.