An Area Couple Recovers After Surviving Hurricane Wilma

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

What should have been a week of total relaxation for Rockton's Mike and Margaret Battista quickly turned into a crash course in survival.

"You could hear things banging off the shutters. You didn’t know what it was. You just knew it was something big, because of the bang," Battista said.

The bangs were debris, set forth by furious, raging winds in Cancun during Hurricane Wilma last week. With the storm pummeling Mexico, the couple took shelter inside a university building. There, cramped with 250 others, the Battistas swept up water, bonded together and stayed alive.

"The citizens of Mexico, of Cancun took a beating, but they were fantastic. The people of the hotel stayed with us the entire time, had food, water for us. Sometimes we had to ration a little bit," Battista said.

But while Battista witnessed Canadian and British reps helping their citizens get out safely, he says the American response and rescue effort was non-existent.

"When we flew out of there, there were American citizens there that had no place to go, no way home, didn't know how they were getting home," Battista said.

And after five days without windows, running water, or workable toilets, this couple has a new perspective on teamwork, and making it through.

"People from America and everybody else were pulled together. We all bailed water and tried to keep afloat. We were successful, thank God," Battista said.

The trip started out as a vacation, but ended up a nerve-racking but triumphant experience of a lifetime.


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