CHICAGO (CBS) — Airlines were resuming limited flights to Puerto Rico on Friday, after Hurricane Maria ravaged the Caribbean island and moved on toward Turks and Caicos.
San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport partially reopened Friday, and the first flight from Chicago left O’Hare International Airport before dawn.
American Airlines was flying team members and passengers back to an island that was utterly devastated by the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years.
Maria inundated much of the island forcing people to wade through waist and chest deep water often just to get out of their homes.
Trees were essentially clear-cut by winds of up to 155 mph. Boats were tossed about like toys and left stranded on land in many cases.
The deadly hurricane left the entire island without power, and it could be six months before power is fully restored.
That means more than 3 million people have been left sweating it out in dangerously high temperatures, with only emergency generators and car batteries to provide electricity.
Some people in the Puerto Rican community were still trying to track down loved ones back home, which can be especially difficult, with both mobile networks and radio towers also knocked out by the storm.