“I couldn’t leave. I was by myself. No one came for me,” Edward Lockhart told The Nassau Guardian after Hurricane Irma.
The 78-year-old man spent the duration of Hurricane Irma underneath a tree on Buena Vista Cay in the Bahamas.
Lockhart had no intention of staying on the island for the storm but he said that nobody came to take him away. His boat was being repaired so he could not leave by himself. There are reports that police officers attempted to move him to Ragged Island and he refused to go, but Lockhart told The Nassau Guardian that that was not true.
His epic experience with the hurricane began when Lockhart left his home, which is 50 feet from the beach, and went up into the hills of the island, armed with only a piece of rope. He spent an entire day in the elements as winds whipped went across the island at 185 miles per hour. Lockhart’s only shelter was a tree, to which he tied his rope.
“I had to crawl on my knees and my two hands to move during the storm,” Lockhart said. “I didn’t have any clothes on, just my pants. That’s how forceful the wind was. The sand and the wind were so hard you couldn’t open your eyes.”
When the storm passed, Lockhart went back to his home and set up his bed on his roof. Rescue crews found him there three days later, suffering from dehydration. Lockhart is now on a different island with his family.
The Caribbean was devastated during Hurricane Irma. Some estimate the damage will cost more than $10 billion to repair. At least 42 people were killed across the Caribbean and Florida.