Opa-locka, Florida — The death toll in the Bahamas rose to 20 on Wednesday night after Hurricane Dorian devastated the string of islands. CBS News flew with the U.S. Coast Guard over the areas hit hardest on Wednesday, seeing home after home torn apart. The U.N. said 70,000 are in immediate need of aid.
Aboard the HC-144 cargo plane, the devastation is clear. The fragile islands were no match for Dorian's Category 5 fury and the landscape looks like a bomb site. Not only was the Coast Guard in rescue mode, but U.S. Customs and Border Protection is also helping out.
"CBS Evening News" anchor Norah O'Donnell spoke with survivors, who described the horrors of facing Dorian. Robert and Phyllis Cornea have lived in Abaco Islands for more than 50 years. They've been homeless since Sunday.
"All the main buildings, gone. It's gone. Everything is gone," Robert Cornea said.
"Take a picture of me because it's all I have left, what you see me in," Phyllis Cornea said. "I've been in this four days."
CBS News correspondent Nikki Battiste spoke to Adrian Farrington, who lost his young son. "I still can see my son getting dragged across the roof reaching up," he said.
Farrington said he thought he lifted the boy to safety on the roof of his house, only to see him washed away in the surging flood waters.
"If he be rescued, praise the Lord. But for the search, what I saw, when I lose him, anything could happen. You had sharks swimming in the water. Anything can happen," he said.
"There was nothing left"
CBS News correspondent David Begnaud made it to one of the hardest-hit areas in the Bahamas: Treasure Cay on the Abaco Islands. CBS News witnessed an air ambulance from Florida land, ready to pick up survivors. Some, who have concerns like running low on medication, want to evacuate.
Nancy Albert waited all day for a flight out, but it didn't happen. She described how her home was destroyed. "We opened the door to the bathroom, there was nothing left. It was gone. The house was gone," she said.
Another woman, Chevon Williams, looked shell-shocked. "We went in the bathroom, and we put some mattresses over us and just started praying," Williams said.
Her husband died just days before the hurricane and she's running low on medication to treat her epilepsy. Because of her needs, a stranger gave her a seat on a flight to Nassau.