A man sees the unimaginable while watching Hurricane Dorian coverage on AccuWeather

John Roach

Roman Sawyer knew the Abaco Islands, knew the neighborhood around his family's block - "That's my home," he said - but he couldn't comprehend what he was seeing as he watched TV footage of Hurricane Dorian's destruction.

"I know the landscape, I know the layout, I know where everything was," Sawyer told AccuWeather's Jonathan Petramala, "and I'm seeing all of these aerial pictures, and it's like, ‘Where is this?' This is not my home."

Sawyer, now living in West Palm Beach, Florida, was watching the horror more intently than most because he was hoping to find out anything he could about his missing mom.

Beverly Bethel's last communication with her family, according to Sawyer, "was on Facebook saying, ‘Help, we need help!'"

Sawyer had the worst thoughts of his mom trying to survive Dorian. "I envisioned it with her on the roof, I've envisioned it with her in the roof, I've envisioned it with her inside the house - and none of the scenarios play out with them living," he said.

Then, a few days after Hurricane Dorian, Sawyer saw a video on the AccuWeather TV Network that made him break down. His mom was standing in front of the decimated house, talking about all that was lost. Sawyer, however, rejoiced in what was found.

"I cried. I was just like, thank God," Sawyer told Petramala when he saw the footage.

"It was a relief seeing her physically, visually seeing her with my eyes and not just having someone say, ‘Hey, she's OK, she's OK.'"

All Sawyer had heard about his mom were rumors until he saw her interviewed on AccuWeather. Bethel had been swept off the roof of her home in the storm surge and clung to the roof of a small car, being battered by debris until the eye of the storm came and she and other family members were able to swim to safety.

"Thank God that's a little bit higher ground" near her home, Bethel told Petramala.

Bethel and her relatives have been evacuated from Abaco Island, and she and Sawyer have been able to talk to each other since. Bethel plans to move off the island, once she gets a new passport to replace the one that was lost.

For Sawyer, what was found was all that mattered.