Man survives 2 hurricanes; forced to get leg amputated

Clovis Tobias taken to Cleveland Clinic on private jet with medical staff

By Shyann Malone - Anchor/Reporter

WESTON, Fla. - A man from St. Thomas shared his story of survival with Local 10 News after going through two recent hurricanes.

"I'm alive and that's the biggest thing," Clovis Tobias said. 

Tobias was home in St. Thomas when the first storm hit.

"I know outside it's storming because I could hear the rain and I could see the trees swaying, but it didn't look that bad," Tobias said. 

But Hurricane Irma left behind so much destruction that Tobias couldn't reach anyone for three days.

The 52-year-old suffers from diabetes and a serious heart condition, and needed medical care.

"I need to go to the hospital," he said. 

Tobias learned that patients at the hospital in St. Thomas were being evacuated. 

He was then taken to Puerto Rico, where he learned his leg would have to be amputated.

"I already got my amputation and then I find out that another hurricane is going to come to Puerto Rico -- direct hit -- and it's going to be a Category 5, just like in St. Thomas," Tobias said.

"It's very simple," Tobias' friend, Elie Finegold, said. "I just said, 'I'm coming,' because you don't want anybody in particular, including your closet friends, to go through an experience like that alone."

Finegold, who lives in Dallas, flew to Puerto Rico to be by Tobias' side. Both were there when Hurricane Maria made landfall.  

"I started seeing leaking through the ceiling and the floors started like accumulating water, and I'm in my bed like, 'Oh my God,'" Finegold said.

After the storm, Finegold was determined to get his friend to the U.S.

"We just said, 'We got to get out of this as fast as we can,'" Finegold said. 

The task took a network of people to pull off, including a private jet full of medical staff.

Tobias landed at the Cleveland Clinic, where he is counting his blessings.

"I've been through a lot. Maybe God got some other plan for me," he said. 

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