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Hurricane Irma: New York couple recounts terrifying ordeal in St. Martin

NEW YORK -- Hurricane Irma's trajectory was still uncertain when Scott Imbrosciano and his girlfriend, Lauren Stallworth, flew to St. Martin last Saturday for a romantic getaway, CBS New York reports.

They tried to leave their resort as soon as it became clear the island was in the path of the Category 5 hurricane, but it was too late.

"We went Monday to the airport and there were no flights available," Imbrosciano told CBS New York.

The couple was forced to wait out the storm with nearly 300 other resort guests and employees in makeshift bunkers.

Irma batters Caribbean

"An employee of the hotel was kind of near the door, and the door literally flew open, and he almost got sucked in," Imbrosciano said. "His feet were in the air. Somebody nearby happened to hold his arm -- grab his arm -- and a few other people came to help, as well."

The storm left at least 34 people dead across the Caribbean.

The couple said survivors tried organizing themselves into recovery teams, clearing debris, rationing food and caring for young children at the resort.

"You are no longer hotel guests. We are refugees. And we need everyone to work," Stallworth said.

As days passed, the island became even more dangerous, the couple said.

Scott Imbrosciano, left, and Lauren Stallworth CBS New York

"People with machetes, people with long sticks, pipes," Imbrosciano said.

On Friday night, a hotel official woke them up.

"He goes, 'OK here's the deal: We've secured a jet for tomorrow morning with 99 available seats,'" Imbrosciano said. Their commercial flight home was arranged by the resort owner, but they still don't know how it was decided which guests were allowed on that plane.

They arrived back in New York on Saturday morning in an emotional airport reunion with their worried loved ones. Video showed the National Guard evacuating more U.S. citizens Sunday.

"Everyone has a family. Everyone's worried," Stallworth said.

"You really had a great appreciation for humanity, for survival, for your lives," Imbrosciano said.

The couple was happy to be home, but still fearful for what will happen to everyone else still on the island.

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