Joseph Roman and Jenny Delpin of Levittown, New York, described being trapped in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit as “a living hell.”Screenshot/CBS New York
As CBS New York reported, Roman’s family had planned the vacation to Puerto Rico long before, as a combination anniversary/birthday celebration. While Roman’s parents toasted 26 years of marriage, Roman surprised Delpin with a marriage proposal on the beach.
Roman’s parents flew home after congratulating the couple on their engagement. However, Roman and Delpin were stranded when their flight was canceled. They returned to the Sheraton Hotel and Casino, where they had been staying and waited out the storm. In the video below, Delpin told CBS New York about sitting in the hotel lobby and watching the storm:
“Wind, trees falling down. The water is about like 5-feet high.”
The couple tried to check back in to their room at the hotel, but they were told that only members of the military were getting rooms as they were in “hurricane mode.” Roman told CBS New York they were stunned when the staff suggested they sleep on the curb outside:
“To the manager I said, ‘So you’re telling me, I can go outside those doors that you guys zip-tied closed — I have to go outside those doors and sleep right there on the floor next to the hotel?’ And she said, ‘Perfectly fine, as long as you’re not in here.'”
Roman and Delpin spent five days trapped on the island, traveling back and forth between the hotel (where the front curb was still the only place to sleep) and the airport. Roman described the conditions at the airport, where desperate people gathered despite the fact that there were no flights out:
“It’s 104 degrees, sleeping on the floor with their infant children.”
He added that everywhere they went, they were surrounded by devastation and disorder:
“No police, no military, no security, nobody there regulating what was going on. No electricity whatsoever, no cellphone service.”
By this point, they were exhausted. Roman told CBS:
“I was at my end, I felt my eyes rolling back in my head, I couldn’t even stand.”
Finally, the pair were able to get a flight home, where they were met by relieved family and friends. But the experience was a sobering one, and both wonder what will become of the people still on the island. Delpin told CBS New York:
“Trapped on this island, not by choice. It’s just a sad feeling that no one’s willing to help you.”
Watch the report below, via CBS New York.