MIAMI – American Airlines is doing its part to help the Bahamas after the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian.
A Boeing 737 departed from Miami International Airport on Thursday morning to provide relief aid to employees who live in the Bahamas.
"We're just hoping it brings much-needed relief to this terrible time they're going through right now," Juan Carlos Liscano, vice president of the Miami hub for American Airlines, said.
The flight, packed full with 2,000 pounds of water, food, tarps and other relief supplies, was scheduled to arrive in Nassau, where the supplies would be taken by boat to Freeport and Marsh Harbour, where 37 American Airlines employees live and work.
"This is such a fabulous team that we have in both locations," Jorge Ramirez, vice president for international operations for American Airlines, said. "Not only do they need it, but they deserve it."
American Airlines made contact with almost all its employees in the Bahamas to make sure they're OK. But not all of them were reachable.
"We still have two that we're desperately searching for, and we're coordinating with local authorities to be able to do that," Liscano said.
Airline executives recalled the difficult text messages employees sent during the hurricane.
"Some of them on the roof of their house, saying, 'I've been here for two hours with my 8-year-old son.' ... She was saying, 'I don't have any more strength. I can't take it anymore,'" Ramirez said.
Team members encouraged their coworkers to pull through and the airline promises to support them in their long road to recovery.
"This is really the start of a journey. It isn't just about this one trip," Liscano said.
Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the northwestern Bahamas as a powerful Category 5 storm, killing at least 20 while decimating Abaco and Grand Bahama islands.