EMS, docs and volunteers en route to Bahamas aboard cruise ship
The Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is transporting first responders, volunteers and supplies to the Bahamas
By Brooke Baitinger
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Thousands of people boarded a cruise ship Thursday evening with their spirits less buoyant than the boat.
Many of them didn’t know quite what to expect but were hoping for the best after Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas.
The Grand Celebration, full of Bahamians and their families, set off from the Port of Palm Beach for Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, on Thursday night. The ship, from Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, is delivering aid.
Some onboard were Bahamians who were stranded in South Florida during the hurricane. Others on board were hundreds of volunteers, EMS professionals, nurses, doctors, surgeons and supplies.
An orthopedic surgeon who waited in line to get on the cruise ship said he had done a mission trip to Haiti back in 2010 after the earthquake.
He felt compelled to do whatever he could to help, he said. Gaetano Scuderi said he felt the same way about the situation in the Bahamas.
“I got this feeling that said: ‘You need to go and help,’” he said. “The same type of thing happened here. You have this situation where the airstrip is decimated, and they don’t have access to people or any services.”
Scuderi said he expects to see broken limbs, head injuries from slips and falls, cuts, and likely lots of children and teenagers who are injured.
Kristen Borchetta, 35, works as a pediatrician in Miami. She said she grew up in the Bahamas and her whole family is still there. They’re all OK and accounted for. But she’s going to help her country first, she said.
“I feel like it’s the only way I can help,” she said. “I have to give back to the country I grew up in.”
Borchetta said she hopes to convince her family to come back with her to the United States. The ship will return Saturday morning, transporting evacuees.
©2019 the Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)