Charlotte couple survives Hurricane Irma as Cat 5 storm in Turks and Caicos

Charlotte couple survives Hurricane Irma as Cat 5 storm in Turks and Caicos

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A Charlotte couple who celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary in the Turks and Caicos Islands claim they are now trapped after the area was struck by Hurricane Irma.

Vickie Hughes says she went to the island with her husband on August 28 and the two have been trying to come home to Charlotte for over a week.

Hughes says they are stranded because of American Airlines. Days before Irma struck the islands, the airport told the couple all flights were booked, according to Hughes. "They knew about this. They were telling people to prepare for it and they just didn't add flights," she said.

Hughes says Canadian Airlines was picking up Canadian citizens Monday but says she can't get an American Airlines flight until Sunday. "We've already been bumped three different days and now they're telling us six more days as of yesterday," Hughes said.

A spokesperson for American Airlines says the organization added several flights out of the Caribbean ahead of the storm,  including an extra section out of Turks and Caicos.

There is no internet service at their resort, so the couple is asking family members who are back home to try and communicate with American Airlines.

The couple stayed in a condo during Hurricane Irma. Hughes says she is thankful that she and her husband were safe. "The condos in our building, right next to us, right above us, they're just gone. But we're here."

"It just looks like someone took one giant weed whacker and went across the whole island," she said.

Hughes says she's been praying a lot throughout the whole ordeal and is grateful she and her husband survived. "We're here and you know you start going, ok, there's something bigger in play here...why I'm still here," Hughes says.

Hughes says the resort has had no power, water, or internet connection for nearly a week. She said some resort workers lost everything but are still helping those stuck at the resort and are beginning to clean up the destruction left by Irma.

"You want to get home to the US where we know our homes are safe and sound…we can't get there, but yet we feel bad that at some point we'll get out, but they can't, they can't leave this."

The airport was closed for some time but has since reopened. American Airlines says the couple is booked to leave Thursday.

"It will definitely be a memorable trip, it's just not a memory I particularly ever wanted to have," Hughes said.

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