Before the Hurricane Odile struck the coast of Baja California, residents and tourists ventured out to snap a few picture, before hunkering down in shelters and hotel conference rooms for the night.
A California bride-to-be’s bachelorette party in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, was meant to be her last dream fiesta before getting hitched. Instead it turned out to be a nightmare thanks to Hurricane Odile.
The eight women left Fresno, Calif., on Thursday night and arrived in Mexico at the Villa Del Arco hotel just before the storm unleashed its wrath on the Baja California peninsula. Family and friends attempted to contact the women on Monday when they were supposed to fly back to the U.S. but got no response.
“They didn’t know how bad it was going to be, and by the time they got there, it got worse,” Shaun Sumpter, whose wife Crystal is a bridesmaid in the upcoming wedding, told the New York Daily News.
Family members began frantically calling the Red Cross and the State Department to get any information on the missing women but to no avail. The last contact anyone had had with the group was when Sumpter’s wife texted him to say that part of her hotel was destroyed.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said that by Tuesday night Tropical Storm Odile had maximum sustained winds near 50 mph. It was centered about 110 miles south of Puerto Peñasco, and was moving to the north near 7 mph.
At least 22 airline flights were canceled. Some tourists camped out at the Los Cabos international airport hoping to get out before the storm, but the facility shut down all air operations late in the afternoon and the hurricane ripped apart the airport terminal.
President Enrique Peña Nieto's office said the federal government was working closely with state authorities on relief efforts in the areas battered by Odile, including restoring water and electricity. It said more than 239,000 people had their power knocked out by the storm, but predicted 95 percent of electrical service would be restored in the coming days.
Despite the chaos in Los Cabos, Shaun Sumpter received some positive news that his wife and the rest of the women had made it onto a flight back to the U.S.
"Crystal Sumpter just landed in San Diego... thank you all so much for your support," he posted on Facebook late Wednesday night.
The Mexican government began airlifting the first of tens of thousands of stranded tourists out of the hurricane-ravaged resort area on Tuesday, as residents began the long process of cleaning up their shattered, flooded homes.
The Interior Ministry said military and commercial planes were carrying travelers out through the Los Cabos international airport, which remained closed to commercial flights due to damage suffered during the hurricane.
On Wednesday, Sumpter referred to the situation in Mexico as a “black hole.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.