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Latoy Williams Rides Out Hurricane In Attic

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

IT was probably quarter-miler LaToy Williams’ worst nightmare as he was forced to ride out most of the passage of Hurricane Dorian in his uncle’s attic - in the home of island administrator Don Cornish - on Grand Bahama.

Said Williams, a former member of the men’s national 4 x 400 metre relay team: “It’s a moment where you could literally see your life flash before your eyes,” Williams said.

“I was thinking about other people as well because I didn’t hear from my mom and I didn’t know anything about what was going on with my dad and the rest of my family.

“When I saw the water starting to rise up so fast, I had to crawl up inside the roof.”

At the elevated one story home of Cornish on Lady Lakes of Churchill Road, Williams said he and his cousin, Tino Cornish (brother of Don Cornish), felt they were safe.

But they ended up clinging to the roof for 24 hours until they made it to safety.

“But the water was about 10-15 feet high,” he said. “This morning (Tuesday) when the water went down a bit, me and my cousin got out and started walking. We got to the end of the corner and there were people waiting to rescue us. “They asked if anybody else was in the surrounding houses, but he said he wasn’t aware. = I had two dogs with me in the house on the bed frame. We had to leave one and the other one got away.”

Williams could be seen on a video pleading for help in the attic with one of the dogs, Nate, a pitbull.

However, Nate got away, while the other one, Nancy, a potcake, stayed in the house. “The area we were in, it never was supposed to surge that much,” Williams said. “It surged before, but it only came up to the porch. This time, the surge came up to the roof of the house. So it was very devastating.”

What made it more depressing for Williams was the fact that his mother, Norma Williams, was in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, which was flattered by hurricane Dorian before it headed to Grand Bahama.

“I haven’t heard from her and my other family members for a long time, but someone made a facebook status and said that Norma was safe,” he said. “That helped me out a lot with the whole situation. So I wasn’t worried about her.”

His father, John Williams, was also okay.

Having survived his ordeal, Williams, 31, has created a gofundme page where he is seeking the public’s support in helping him to raise funds to assist those whose lives have been changed drastically by the storm.

“I literally watched as all my medals I ever won, all my clothes and shoes get blown out of the house and I couldn’t do anything,” he remembered. “I put my stuff in a bag that was taller than me at 6-4 and it still gone.

“When I came down from the roof, there were no walls in the house. I could see from one end to the next in the house easily. All I could see was the 2 x 4 wood and the concrete that held them together.”

Williams, one of the few Bahamians to run under 45 seconds with a personal best of 44.73 on May 23, 2009, said he and his cousin were contemplating swimming to safety the night before.

“He said ‘no don’t go out in the water right now, don’t go out in the surge right,’” Williams said. “Thank God that I didn’t because in a moment like that, my athletic instinct kicked in and I was ready to go.

“But he stopped me and allowed me to get my thoughts together. It made sense, so I really appreciate that about him because I could have panicked and be gone right now because I don’t know what I would have met in that surge.”

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