The official death toll from the most powerful hurricane on record to hit the Bahamas has climbed to 43 and is likely to keep rising amid worries a ”staggering” number of lives have been claimed.
The Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard said he was forced to make urgent calls for help while trapped with his family in their home in the storm-wrecked Bahamas.
Mr Pintard said three men riding jet skis pulled up outside to rescue them while he and his wife and six-year-old daughter were trapped on the second floor.
“They did a phenomenal job, not just with us. What we saw when we came out is that they continued to go back in and over and over again,” Mr Pintard told CNN.
“We thought it would pretty much be a routine ride out, but the waves were still pretty strong, and the wind was fairly high. We capsized, my wife and I, at least twice. My daughter capsized on a jet ski as well.”
Jensen Burrows and d’Sean Smith, who are both part of the GB Jet Ski Club, were able to rescue 100 people on Tuesday, according to the rescuers and Mr Pintard.
The pair were joined by dozens of others who also helped in their rescue efforts. The jet skiers ferried those they rescued to the Casuarina Bridge which was the nearest dry spot.
Mr Smith said: “The wind was pelting you, so it felt like rocks being pelted at you. I had his daughter and my friend, and the jet ski tipped over.
“Jensen had the minister and his wife and Jensen also flipped over. He insisted we take the daughter and wife to safety first, so we did and came back for him.”
The prime minister of the Bahamas has said the islands are in their “hour of darkness” in the wake of the battering they have taken by Hurricane Dorian.
The country’s leaders believe hundreds and perhaps thousands of people are missing in the archipelago nation after Hurricane Dorian, which is now wreaking havoc in Canada after moving north up the US east coast, parked itself over part of the archipelago for almost two days earlier this week.
Conditions have quickly worsened in the Caribbean since the tropical cyclone hit earlier this week – tens of thousands of people have been left homeless.
Dorian carried heavy rain and violent winds to the Atlantic coast of Canada on Saturday that eliminated power for hundreds of thousands of people and collapsed a construction crane in Halifax.
Several organisations, countries and companies, including the United Nations, the US government, the British Royal Navy, American Airlines and Royal Caribbean, have rallied together to send in food, water, generators, roof tarps, flashlights and other supplies. The US Coast Guard says it has rescued 290 people in the Bahamas.