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Storm Gives Bermuda 'Considerable Beating'

September 07, 2003|From Associated Press

HAMILTON, Bermuda — The dark clouds of Hurricane Fabian lifted Saturday, revealing the devastation wrought by the most powerful storm to hit Bermuda in 50 years: pulverized trees, shorn rooftops and thousands of homes without power.

"We have experienced a considerable beating," said John Burchall, a government spokesman. Damage estimates were expected to take days.

Divers were looking for four missing people whose vehicles were swept off a causeway Friday when the storm slammed into the British territory with 120 mph winds. Nine people sought medical attention Saturday for minor injuries, said Valerie Pethen, a government spokeswoman.

Power was still out in 26,000 homes because debris was blocking access to some areas. Dozens of people remained in five shelters and others were staying at hotels because of damage to their homes. Hospitals had power, but many hotels were running on generators.

Bermuda's largest hotel, the five-star Fairmont Southampton, relocated hundreds of guests after incurring "significant damage" to its roof and upper floors, Pethen said.

Fabian's winds shattered part of a wall on the airport causeway. Officials said a decision would be made Saturday on whether to reopen today.

Widespread flooding was reported, and many golf courses were in ruins.

Prime Minister Alex Scott toured damaged areas Saturday.

"I am so very glad I am a Bermudian because I know what is going to happen next," Scott said. "We are going to come together like we always do. The world will watch us and learn about real community."

Three men survived 20-foot swells after spending 10 hours at sea during the storm. Jay Simmons' 46-foot boat broke its moorings at noon Friday, but he wouldn't let the new $200,000 boat go down without a fight.

Simmons, 44, enlisted his brother, Vaughan, 46, and Brendan Robinson, 48, to save the vessel.

Robinson was swept overboard. "I don't think I have ever seen anything like this, and I don't think I will again," he said. "We are lucky to be alive."

Bermuda had not seen a Category 3 hurricane like Fabian since 1953, when Edna ravaged the territory with 115 mph winds.

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