USF student uses social media to lead rescue crews to father trapped in Bahamas

Tracking the Tropics

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Bahamian student at the University of South Florida is crediting social media for helping save his father, trapped in the Bahamas by Hurricane Dorian’s storm surge.

Asif Robinson, a senior studying electrical engineering who was born and raised in Freeport, Grand Bahama said there wasn’t much he could do from hundreds miles away except share his dad’s location, situation, and pray for his rescue.

Growing up in the Bahamas, Robinson had seen his fair share of hurricanes. Nothing could have prepared them, physically or emotionally, for Dorian.

“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “We’ve never seen anything like this.”

Robinson’s hometown, the Bahamas’ second-most populous city, has been leveled and his childhood home has been destroyed. He couldn’t contact his family for days and said every second that passed by felt like hours.

He finally got a message from his dad who was trapped in the ceiling of their house with no food and no water, at the mercy of a 17 foot storm surge.

“The water was rising and we were just so afraid,” Robinson said. His mother had gone to help his grandparents elsewhere on the island.

Refusing to be helpless despite the distance, he blasted his dad’s photo, situation, and the coordinates of his house on Instagram and other social media sites. Two days and many shares later, a boat came to his dad’s rescue.

Robinson said his family dog drowned in the flood but the rest of his family is okay.

“I don’t think it’s fully set in what’s happened right now,” he said. “I’m just thankful that everyone is safe.”

Robinson knows his island may never be the same after Dorian. He may never be the same, either.

“I’m just hoping we’ll be able to bounce back,” he said.

Robinson is banding together with other students on campus to help raise money, supplies, and awareness for the Bahamas’ recovery efforts.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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