FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- A northern Colorado couple survived five days of Dorian’s wrath in the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas.
“We’re so humbled,” Amy Colman said.
The Colman family got back to Fort Collins last night, bringing back photos, unimaginable stories and two Bahamian natives who now have absolutely nothing: Alcindor "AJ" McIntosh and Chante Basden.
After taking several ministry trips to the Abacos, the Colmans finally decided they were going to take a vacation there. However, two days into relaxation, it turned into a survival mission and the most important ministry trip of which they've ever been a part.
“The whole town just folded in on just hundreds of hundreds of people. They will never be able to find all of the bodies. It’s so horrific,” Jerry Colman said.
For five days, the group of friends fought for their lives.
“I slept two hours in five days because I was so afraid to go to sleep,” Jerry said, sharing footage of the home where they found shelter. “When it started, we heard this horrific sound of metal shredding the house, the doors pulling out, the windows shredding off. The sound was just unbelievable. We did not think we’re going to be able to walk out of this."
After two hours of praying under a mattress -- behind a door with a dryer and cooler wedged against it -- they realized they were in the eye of the storm.
The group ran to a school down the street.
“Half the school was gone and then the other half was filled with people,” Jerry said.
Next, they got in a truck and rushed to a half-standing church to brace for round two.
“All of us held those doors for three hours, the top of the church came off in the pouring rain,” Jerry said. “Two-hundred people were in one little area of that church. There were babies, there was mothers and the ceiling started collapsing on people.”
With no outside communication, they just prayed for a miracle.
“All the water flooded the roads to the airport, so there was no way to get to the airport, no way to get to the boats because debris was spread out,” Jerry said.
After five days of a living nightmare and two dangerous drives to the closest airports, they found a miracle.
“We cried so much when we got to the plane,” Amy said.
“It’s literally just heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time,” McIntosh said
He and Basden lost absolutely everything but found refuge with the Coloradans.
“There’s absolutely no way was separating them right now” McIntosh said.
This Abaco couple survived and believe their families have too. However, many others did not survive, including close friends.
“It’s so heartbreaking that I don’t even want to go on Facebook anymore because my Newsfeed is just ‘rest in peace that guy’ and ‘rest in peace that guy,’” McIntosh said
Their homes, jobs and churches are gone.
“Everything that made us who we are, it’s literally just rubble,” McIntosh said. “The places where you cut your finger, things of that sort. Places where they had some sort of meeting. None of that exists.”
Right now, the couple is trying to rebuild their lives with the support of their Colorado family, a single suitcase, their health and love.
“I smile at her, tell her I love her and try to stay as happy as we can because our mental health, that’s all we have left," McIntosh said.
Basden owned a bakery and McIntosh had a high-ranking technology job in Abaco. Neither job exists anymore.
Nicole Fierro wrote this report.AlertMe