Final Planes Leave Bahamas Before Hurricane Irene Plows Through | News
DAYTONA, Fla. -- Hurricane Irene is making its way through the stepping stones of the Bahamas, and chasing many tourists off the islands.
The final plane to leave Abaco before the island's airport closed landed in Daytona Wednesday. "When I left Treasure Cay in the Abaco I was the last flight, the only plane on the ramp leaving," said AirGate Aviation Pilot Scott Duchesne.
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The New Smyrna Beach-based airline flies into Daytona as well as St. Augustine, taking folks direct to the Bahamas.
Many had to end their vacations early due to the forecast intensity of Hurricane Irene. "We had lots of people calling trying to get out," Duchesne said.
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Dolly Roberts and her husband, Steve, were two of those people. The Tampa couple had just started their 2 and a half week vacation when the major, Category 3 storm ruined their plans.
"We were actually going to stay," Dolly said, "But as the storm got worse we decided to start finding flights."
She said many people decided to board up their homes and ride it out. "You never know about the flooding and how long the clean up will last, or how long power is going to be out, so we decided not to do that."
Judy Marshall was taking a work/pleasure trip from Atlanta to Abaco. Marshall and her team run an organization called Royal Potcake Rescue. They spay/neuter and rescue stray dogs in the Bahamas.
"We went to do a spay and neuter clinic on Saturday, but then Irene came along and we had to leave," she said.
The Roberts family says they're going to get a place close by and wait for the storm to pass. They said they'll head right back to the island once they can get a flight.
"We still have two weeks of vacation to go," Dolly said.
As for Marshall, she says she'll have to wait for another time to go back to help.
An AirGate Aviation spokesperson said they are scheduled to fly back to the islands Saturday.