Katherine Collins, WHIO
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – An Ohio woman has been stopped from returning home from Haiti due to Hurricane Matthew, now her husband is on his way to the island nation looking for any sign of his wife.
Chelsey Crabtree was in Haiti with family members on a mission trip, her husband Jacob Crabtree said. She had been there for about a week, he said, before Hurricane Matthew hit Tuesday and early Wednesday morning.
The family makes several visits to Haiti each year, he said, to help out at orphanages and drill water wells for their nonprofit, Living Water for Haiti.
Jacob Crabtree, who was in Springfield, Ohio when the storm hit, was texting with his wife, he said, until about 4 a.m. Wednesday when he lost contact. She was telling him the storm’s strength was increasing, he said.
Nearly two days after the storm damaged Haiti, Crabtree had not been able to contact his wife for two days. He boarded a plane early Friday morning to fly to the country, headed to the town of Jeremie, Haiti to find his wife.
The town west of the capital of Port-Au-Prince was in the eye of Hurricane Matthew. His wife and her four family members were in that area on a mission trip.
The couple have been through a natural disaster before. Last time, it was an earthquake that left her stranded in 2010. It took four days for her to make contact with her family.
“Obviously we’re worried, still no word from there,” Jacob Crabtree said.
Tuesday, when the storm made landfall on southwestern Haiti, a NASA satellite captured the storm’s swirling clouds blanketing Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and much of eastern Cuba. It was a Cat 4 (sustained winds of 130 mph to 156 mph), the strongest to hit that nation in more than 50 years, NASA officials said.
Crabtree said he’ll not purchase a return ticket and depending on what he finds, he may stay to help with survivors and clean up.
“Just kind of leaving it open-ended, if they need help down there and there’s things I could do, I’ll stay, you know if I need to get them home, then I’ll get them home,” he said.
He admits he’s afraid, but he’s leaning on his faith in God.
“That’s what keeps us going back all the time you know? We’re all commanded to give back and to care for and there’s always those risks, but you know God didn’t command us to go to the safe places.”