WATCH: Dozens of Canadian travellers are back home after their Mexican vacation plans took a terrible turn. They were in Cabo San Lucas when Hurricane Odile hit. The storm was devastating, but the looting and chaos after was just as terrifying. Shirlee Engel reports.
There were hugs and tears in Vancouver International Airport on Wednesday evening.
“My baby’s safe, she’s home. I didn’t know if she was on a plane or not. Last I heard she was stranded on a roof somewhere,” said Debbie Reid, minutes after she was reunited with her daughter Jessica.
“It’s heart wrenching, not knowing where your baby is or your family member is. We didn’t even know if she was on the plane, and her phone was dead.
“But she’s safe now.”
Canadians that have been stranded in Cabo San Lucas since Hurricane Odile have begun to return home.
Sunwing Flight 576 arrived in Vancouver Wednesday night, while Sunwing Flight 578 arrived in Toronto early Thursday morning.
Sunwing also says they had 15 Alaska Airlines passengers and 24 West Jet guests on board the Vancouver flight.
In a statement, they said:
We are aware that some Sunwing passengers were evacuated by authorities from their hotels before the Sunwing Destination team could provide them with details of our repatriation flights. These customers were flown from the Los Cabos area by Mexican authorities, and where needed, we are assisting them with their onward arrangements for their return to Canada.
Along with ensuring our own customers’ travel home safely, we aim to run both services at full capacity to repatriate as many other Canadians currently in the area as we are able to.
All future Canadian Sunwing flights to and from Los Cabos in September have been cancelled.
West Jet has also said they will be operating a flight from Los Cabos to Calgary today, which will leave at 2:30 local time. They also say all regular flights to or from Los Cabos have been cancelled until September 21.
The resort area has been hit by rampant looting and property destruction in the days following Hurricane Odlie, and the Mexican government estimates 30,000 tourists were in the region. The military is operating the airport, which is badly damaged.
People who arrived back in Vancouver attested to the immense damage the region has seen.
“It was terrifying,” said Evan Powroznik.
“All the buildings were fallen down and trashed from the wind. Looting was going on. In the hotel, we were stuck in our room, they had taped up the windows and told us not to leave.
“There was leaking from the ceiling, there was flooding, we were basically bailing out our room for the whole night and the whole morning. Absolutely terrifying.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Destruction at RIU Santa Fe, Los Cabo. Courtesy of Brad Lutz of Delta.