Thousands of tourists, mostly Americans, were still stranded in Baja California Wednesday as flights from the region’s heavily damaged airport remained grounded and electrical and water services were down. Family and friends of those who were vacationing on Mexico’s Baja California peninsula when Hurricane Odile slammed the resort towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo had trouble reaching them by phone or social media as lines were out-of-service and Internet access in the region was cut off. Officials say some 26,000 foreign tourists were still attempting to leave the area.
“It’s ridiculous to have this many Americans unaccounted for,” Shaun Sumpter, whose wife was in Cabo San Lucas for a bachelorette party when the hurricane hit, told NBC News. He said his wife and her friends “didn’t know how bad it was going to be” before leaving for Cabo. Thousands of tourists had to hunker down in makeshift storm shelters in hotel stairwells and bathrooms to ride out the storm.
Odile littered many of the roads connecting the southern resort towns to the north part of the peninsula with storm debris, making ground travel out of the area impossible. The Mexican military and private aircraft flew a few hundred travelers from the U.S. to Tijuana and Mazatlan Tuesday in hopes of getting them out of the country.
“As travelers arrive, [Customs and Border Protection] is processing those travelers through the pedestrian facilities at both ports of entry,” Angelica DeCima, an agency spokeswoman, said in a statement, according to UT San Diego. “CBP has set up a customer service area to provide assistance to the travelers on a variety of needs such as transportation options, hotels, and airport information, etc., in an effort to facilitate their needs and ease their concerns.”
Looters continued to raid supermarkets, pharmacies and electronic shops in the days after the storm. Some 135 people were injured in the hurricane. There have been no reported deaths, according to the New York Daily News.