Airline president helps Bahamians recover from hurricane
- Paul Aranha has flown to Bahamas several times since storm hit
Before Hurricane Joaquin made landfall, Trans Island Airways president Paul Aranha said the Bahamas-based airline would be committed to any recovery efforts.
"It never even crossed our mind not to go and not do anything. It was just a matter of how much we were going to do," said Aranha, a Bahamian who spent his college years in Florida. "At this point, we're in it for the long haul."
The hurricane decimated parts of the island chain over the weekend. Aranha, a pilot himself, flew multiple times to deliver much-needed food and supplies to remote areas of the Bahamas.
According to Aranha, the hardest-hit areas include the southern portion of Long Island, Rum Cay and Crooked Island.
"You're seeing homes leveled, you're seeing roofs blown off, countless power lines down, flooding 4 or 5 feet high in homes," Aranha said by phone.
Aranha touched down briefly at the main cargo area in Nassau to restock and help load five planes with water and medical supplies. According to Aranha, the airline is partnering with the Royal Bahamas Defense Force to bring medical supplies and retrieve the injured.
Aranha said they've removed at least three dozen patients so far.
The government of the Bahamas terminated all watches and warnings for Joaquin on Saturday, but Aranha said recovery efforts are just beginning.
"We're trying to get the resources that we have available to serve the most critical areas, but of course (if) you neglect one area one day, it becomes a critical area the next day, so you have to keep on going and keep on going," he said.