BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – South Floridians who have loved ones in the Bahamas have been glued to their phones as WhatsApp Messenger has been a lifeline for those desperately trying to get information.
Phone service to the Bahamas has been virtually cut off so their window into the Bahamas is coming through the app.
In Sunrise, Garnell Pratt found out her brother and sister-in-law were airlifted out of Marsh Harbour to Nassau after the roof of the church they were seeking shelter in collapsed on top of them.
"They have head injuries and other injuries to their bodies," Pratt said. "I don't know what we'd be doing without WhatsApp. It has been giving us all the updates and details."
In Miramar, Tobiah Edwards learned her longtime friend had drowned.
The WhatsApp text she got from another friend in Freeport said: "The last time I saw her she had a life vest (on and was) holding onto a tree. I still don't know her whereabouts. Her boyfriend said she floated away. I still have hope."
"Everyone is using WhatsApp," Edwards said.
Delores Stewart said she's spent almost every waking hour on her cellphone and on the app getting any information she can about loved ones.
"If I didn't have this I'd be freaking out, going crazy," Stewart said.
WhatsApp is free and allows users to send text and voice messages and share images, documents and videos.
WhatsApp runs on mobile devices but is also accessible from desktop computers, as long as the user's mobile device remains connected to the Internet while they use the desktop app.