At least 5 dead in Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian

'We are in the midst of a historic tragedy,' prime minister says

McLEAN'S TOWN CAY, Bahamas - Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said at least five people have died in the Abaco Islands as Hurricane Dorian continues to pound the region as a Category 4 storm.

Minnis said Monday that there are also people in nearby Great Bahama island who are in serious distress.

He said rescue crews will respond to calls for help as soon as weather conditions allow. He said many homes and buildings have been severely damaged or destroyed.

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"We are in the midst of a historic tragedy," he said.

The fearsome Category 4 storm slowed almost to a standstill as it shredded roofs, hurled cars and forced even rescue crews to take shelter until the onslaught passed.

A radio station received more than 2,000 distress messages, including reports of a 5-month-old baby stranded on a roof and a grandmother with six grandchildren who cut a hole in a roof to escape rising floodwaters. Other reports involved a group of eight children and five adults stranded on a highway and two storm shelters that flooded.

At least 21 people were hurt in the Bahamas and evacuated by helicopters, the prime minster said.

Police Chief Samuel Butler urged people to remain calm and share their GPS coordinates, but he said rescue crews had to wait until weather conditions improved.

"We simply cannot get to you," he told Bahamas radio station ZNS.

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