'Just get me home!' pleads Louisiana woman stranded on heavily-damaged St. Maarten

Monica Bullion Miller and her husband Martin
Monica Bullion Miller and her husband Martin
Facebook post from Monica Miller when they arrived in St. Maarten
Facebook post from Monica Miller when they arrived in St. Maarten

ST. MAARTEN (WAFB) - What was planned as the perfect Caribbean honeymoon has turned into a living hell for a Gonzales, Louisiana woman and her husband.

They checked into their St. Maarten resort last Sunday, posted a scenic photo on Facebook, and set off to enjoy paradise.

Just two days later, they nearly died.

Monica Bullion Miller and her husband Martin faced multiple hours riding out a direct hit by Hurricane Irma as they huddled inside a storm shelter at their resort hotel near the St. Maarten airport.

Three tornadoes hit the resort as the powerful Category 5 hurricane passed over. Their actual hotel room at the Sonesta Ocean Point Resort was blown away.

The couple is now in a race against time to evacuate St. Maarten before another hurricane potentially hits the island.

"The island is gone," Miller said in a text message to her cousin back home in the United States late Wednesday.

"Just get me home," another desperate text message read.

Milller's cousin, Tammy Murphy, says there's little hope of the couple getting a commercial flight home anytime soon.

And, the island now faces the threat of possibly being hit by Hurricane Jose.

Murphy says she got a text from her cousin late Tuesday night as Hurricane Irma was about to bear down on the island saying they and about 300 other guests were being moved to the resort's concrete-reinforced conference room.

Then nothing. She did not hear from her cousin for another grueling twelve hours.

"We're ok," the first post-storm text message read. "There's nothing left to the resort. We're in the two concrete rooms. The island is gone."

Murphy read the text and broke into tears.

"I so was so relieved, but I also felt so helpless," she said Thursday.

Murphy is now working with the U.S. Embassy to try to get her cousin home.

"There is no way St. Maarten can survive another hit," Martin Miller said in a text message he sent to her Wednesday. He's worried what additional devastation might be caused if Hurricane Jose heads toward the island, she said.

He did, however send a bit of good news Thursday morning.

"This is Martin, we are good," he said. "We have managed to get the generator working and so we have lights and electricity. The kitchen is intact. Everyone is working together to get some sort of normalcy, if there is such a thing. We have plenty of food and water and have gotten the restrooms working. This place is destroyed. It will be years before it's back to normal. From my understanding, the entire island is completely demolished."

Monica Miller was able to take several photos of the resort Thursday that show the extensive damage there.

"Our luggage is gone because our room was blown away," she said in a text to her cousin. "Not sure if we told you, but while in the eyewall, our hotel was hit by three separate tornadoes literally right outside the place where we were staying."

She and her husband got married last spring but decided to wait until September to take their honeymoon to St. Maarten, one of Monica's favorite places.  She says the only injuries at that resort came from people helping to clear debris after the hurricane passed.

Her cousin says the Millers have been incredibly impressed with the staff of their resort. They told her the hotel manager has been phenomenal.

"They have been taken care of perfectly," she said.

The Dutch government said Thursday it was sending two military aircraft loaded with relief supplies and troops to help St. Maarten. The government said it was sending enough food and supplies for five days.

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