Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Relatives await word from Tampa mother, daughter stuck in Puerto Rico before Irma

TAMPA — Rosita Chisem hasn't heard from her aunt, Pauline Jackson, or cousin, Samantha Jackson, since Hurricane Irma brushed past the northern coast of Puerto Rico.

The mother and daughter from Tampa had just returned to the island after spending seven days on a Caribbean cruise. With all departing flights canceled ahead of the storm, they had no way to get home.

Chisem, who lives in St. Petersburg, said she last spoke with her aunt Wednesday night. She was told they were staying in a hotel, which had been boarded up, and that they were going to ride out the storm.

"I've been calling every hour on the hour since 3 a.m. this morning," Chisem said. "All I get is voicemail."

Pauline Jackson, a registered nurse, spoke with an Associated Press reporter at a hotel in San Juan shortly before the storm hit.

"I'm in a hurricane here, and when I get home, I'll be in the same hurricane. It's crazy," she said. She said she was scheduled to fly out of the island Friday.

"When you're from Florida, you understand a Category 5 storm," Jackson said.

Since then, Irma, a Category 5 storm, lashed the island with heavy rain and winds up to 185 mph.

Family members are anxious for any word from the pair.

"She felt they were going to be safe," Chisem said of her last conversation with her aunt. She said she was trusting God was going to get her through it. I said 'OK, auntie.' She told me she loved me. And I said I loved her."

In the days before the storm, Samantha Jackson posted numerous photos and videos of their trip. The posts show the pair traveled aboard the MS Adventure of the Seas, visiting St. Kitts, Antigua and Barbuda.

"I just want my auntie and my cousin to come back," Chisem said. "Then we'll take time and deal with whatever comes next."

Relatives await word from Tampa mother, daughter stuck in Puerto Rico before Irma 09/07/17 [Last modified: Thursday, September 7, 2017 5:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Bruno Mars' charisma glitters like gold at Tampa's Amalie Arena


    Nothing in this world should be as easy as Bruno Mars makes it look. Not singing, not dancing, and certainly not playfully seducing more than 17,500 starry-eyed Tampa fans with one of pop music’s best bands at your back.

    Bruno Mars performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Oct. 19, 2017.
  2. Mikhail Sergachev scores twice as Lightning shuts out Blue Jackets (w/ video)

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mikhail Sergachev said he blacked out for a few seconds after his first NHL goal Thursday night, a rocket slap shot from the point.

    Mikhail Sergachev, front, looks like he’s very in the moment with teammate Dan Girardi after scoring his first NHL goal, though he says he blacked out for a bit. He scores again in the second.
  3. Dodgers rout Cubs 11-1 to win pennant, head to World Series for first time since '88


    CHICAGO — Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

    The Dodgers celebrate their Game 5 victory Thursday night over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, putting Los Angeles in the World Series for the first time since 1988.
  4. Another suspicious death in Tampa's Seminole Heights


    TAMPA — Police were investigating what they were calling a suspicious death in southeast Seminole Heights Thursday night, near the location of two fatal shootings last week.

    Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan addresses reporters about the latest suspicious death in southeast Seminole Heights Thursday night. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL | Times]
  5. Duke tops preseason coaches' basketball poll; Gators No. 7


    Duke has been tabbed basketball's preseason No. 1 for the second straight season in the coaches' poll, released Thursday.

    Florida point guard Chris Chiozza launches the shot of last season’s NCAA Tournament, a winning 3
against Wisconsin that put the Gators into the Elite Eight. Chiozza returns to lead a UF team that’s getting its share of preseason attention, including a No. 7 ranking in the coaches’ poll.