Couple caught up in New York hurricane Sandy
9:05am Thursday 1st November 2012 in News
A COUPLE are stranded in New York after they were caught up in Hurricane Sandy.
Rob Lister, aged 26, from Westhoughton, was staying in the city with his 29-year-old girlfriend Cheryl Latham, when the massive storm struck the East coast of America.
But he extended his break so Miss Latham could join him for a holiday.
The couple were due to fly home yesterday but their flights were cancelled because of the storm.
Mr Lister told The Bolton News how they witnessed the carnage in lower Manhattan on Tuesday, describing it as like a scene from a post-apocalyptic disaster movie.
Phone signals, gas and water were lost and power was cut to most of the city, causing chaos on the roads as traffic lights failed and taxis had to dodge each other at busy junctions.
One driver told the couple he had never seen anything like it, even in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Mr Lister said: “By Sunday, Manhattan was clearing and everywhere we tried to go was closed except for a comedy club, where they just took the mick out of the fact that it wasn't going to happen.
“By Monday it was much more blowy and raining on and off. The wind and rain really picked up.
“The air felt thick and stuffy like it needed to rain and the wind was battering the flagpoles.
“We woke up to the aftermath of Sandy on Tuesday and the subways and buses were still suspended and bridges and tunnels were closed.
“We just feel lucky we have power or things could be very different.
“It was scary in lower Manhattan where the worst of it has hit, but luckily we’re up near Times Square.”
New York was less badly affected than other parts of the country further south, Mr Lister said.
Miss Latham, who lives in Manchester, said: “The streets were deserted. The Hudson River had swamped apartment block basements, underground car parks and the Battery Tunnel, where an articulated lorry floated like a toy train in a bath tub.”
The couple hope to return to Manchester on a rescheduled flight on Saturday.
Hurricane Sandy developed in the western Caribbean Sea more than 10 days ago before picking up power and travelling northbound.
It has affected 22 states from Florida to New England and claimed at least 48 lives.
Firefighter Peter Griffiths, aged 43, from Bury, has been left in the lurch as he was due to take part in the New York Marathon on Sunday, for which he is being sponsored by Prestons of Bolton.
His challenge is now in jeopardy because he does not know if his flight to New York tomorrow will go ahead.