Denny man ‘lucky to survive’ hurricane hell on paradise island

A Denny builder is flying home from the Bahamas after a nightmare hurricane brush with death in which his home was among many destroyed.

By Roy Beers
Sunday, 22nd September 2019, 3:12 pm
Hurricane Dorian brought carnage to Bahamian communities.
Hurricane Dorian brought carnage to Bahamian communities.

His life was on the line when Hurricane Dorian swept the Bahamas earlier this month, wrecking communities and leaving tragedy in its wake.

But for Martin McCafferty (60), his lucky escape on the Bahamian island of Grand Abaco won’t be the end of his love affair with the Caribbean.

The former St Modan’s High pupil has forged a dream career building des-res homes for people seeking the good life, and ahead of him lies the prospect of a massive rebuilding operation.

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Hurricane Dorian brought carnage to Bahamian communities.

But as his sister in law Laura makes clear, all of it could so easily have been swept away in the devastating hurricane that smashed homes into matchwood and killed scores or perhaps hundreds of people, making many others homeless.

Today Laura is staging a fundraising fun afternoon in Denny’s Crypt Hall, underneath St Alexander’s church, complete with bouncy castle and other family entertainment to raise cash for the effort to support people who have lost everything in the hurricane.

Everyone is welcome.

While Martin endured the terror of trying to survive in the eye of the storm his wife Julieth - on a different island at the time - “prayed for three nights and days” after her phone call to him went dead during the hurricane.

A couple survey a road in Grand Bahama which looks like it has been caught up in the middle of a war - but nature is the culprit.

She told the Daily Mail newspaper of her relief when he was finally able to report he was alive, but added she wouldn’t truly believe it until he was safe in her arms.

Laura said: “Martin is getting ready to come home for a few weeks, because although he is fine in one way the shock of what he has been through has obviously had an effect.”

Laura concedes it’s darkly ironic that a Scot should be looking forward to a break from the Bahamas in typically dank and rainy Scotland - but the circumstances are compelling.

“He was living in a group of four houses there, and there’s basically nothing left of them”, said Laura.

Martin, centre, pictured in more relaxed times - before Hurricane Dorian vented its fury

“What he has been through is hard to imagine - it’s nothing like anything that would happen here.”

She says the true casualty toll may never be known, as many Haitian earthquake refugees were living rough on the island, and since most were there illegally there will be no accurate records of their plight.

In a video message home Martin sent his heartfelt thanks to the many local people who have given both emotional and practical support in the aftermath of the disaster.

He said: “We have been through a rough, rough time ... but we are survivors.

Laura McCafferty.

“I cannot thank you all enough. I can’t wait to get back home and give you a big hug”.