A group of travellers from the Steinbach area had their trip to the Dominican Republic cut short this week because of Hurricane Irma.
Devin Reimer and four co-workers planned a trip to the Caribbean, not realizing it was hurricane season. Reimer says there was nothing abnormal about the first few days, noting the weather was fantastic. But on Monday they started to hear about Hurricane Irma forming, and the five travellers started to pay more attention.
On Tuesday, they heard from their WestJet representative who informed them that Irma was getting closer and that they might be heading home earlier than expected. Reimer says it was at this point that concern started creeping in and they notified their families to keep an eye on the situation.
Then Tuesday night at around 10:30, after returning from dinner, Reimer says they received a phone call letting them know that at nine o'clock the next morning a bus would pick them up for their rescue flight back home.
"When I hear the word rescue flight, we kind of knew that this is a little more serious than we thought," admits Reimer.
Before leaving, Reimer says their resort was already bracing for the storm. Even though the eye of Hurricane Irma was not supposed to hit where they were staying, Reimer says staff was already tarping things and strapping beach chairs to trees.
Reimer says when the group landed in Winnipeg, they were happy to be home safe and out of the danger zone. He notes their travel agent is now looking into whether or not they can be reimbursed for having their trip cut short by three days.
Reimer admits it probably wasn't very wise of them to plan this trip during hurricane season. And he says it is a little overwhelming to know how close they were to one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic.