Couple's honeymoon hurricane terror

By David LennardA COUPLE have told how their dream honeymoon turned into a nightmare when Hurricane Ivan struck the Caribbean island of Grenada.Ironically, one of the reasons that Glen and Karen Kettless, from Oulton Road, had chosen the island for their honeymoon was because it is away from the normal hurricane belt.

By David Lennard

A COUPLE have told how their dream honeymoon turned into a nightmare when Hurricane Ivan struck the Caribbean island of Grenada.

Ironically, one of the reasons that Glen and Karen Kettless, from Oulton Road, had chosen the island for their honeymoon was because it is away from the normal hurricane belt.

However, when one of the most powerful hurricanes seen in the area for decades struck the island, the couple were left fearing for their lives.

Mrs Kettless, 27, said: “Everything had been just perfect for the first few days, but we were then warned that the hurricane had changed course and was heading our way.

“Everyone at our hotel was told to stay in their rooms, but this proved much easier said than done.”

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At first when the strong winds roared across the hotel grounds, the couple thought the dangers had passed them by.

Mr Kettless, 30, said: “Unfortunately, that was only the beginning as when the hurricane struck there was so much carnage. Our balcony was blown off and tiles were ripped from the roof.

“The windows and patio doors were blown open and so much debris came hurling into our hotel room.”

For two hours the couple were forced to stay in their bathroom and had an extremely difficult time keeping the door from being blown open.

“The wind was so strong and noisy we could not speak to each other. I felt at one time we would be lucky to survive,” said Mrs Kettless.

Finally the powerful winds, gusting at speeds of more than 200mph, abated and there was an eerie silence as they eye of the storm passed overhead.

The couple took the opportunity to make a dash to a more sheltered position in another part of the hotel.

“We knew our room could not cope with another two hours of being hit by such strong winds and flying debris,” said Mr Kettless.

Eventually the hurricane, which claimed more than 30 lives on the island, passed by and the trail of destruction it left behind could be seen.

“Our room looked like something out of a disaster movie or if a bomb had hit it,” said Mrs Kettless..

“The island that had been so beautiful earlier had been transformed and there were buildings severely damaged and hardly a tree left standing.”

Her husband added: “There was no power and no means of communication, but the hotel staff were magnificent and did everything they could to help the guests.”

The couple were able to use their own expertise to help hotel staff cope with the disaster.

Mr Kettless deployed his mechanical engineering experience to get a generator working, while his wife, a senior medical technician, helped tend people who were injured.

In all the confusion, the couple were unable to contact representatives of their travel company, Carib World, and had to make their own arrangements for returning home.

The couple are now relaxing at home and are contacting their travel and insurance companies about claiming expenses and compensation.

“We had saved up for a dream honeymoon, but at least it is something we will never forget,” said Mrs Kettless.

No-one from Carib World was available to comment yesterday.

david.lennard@eadt.co.uk

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