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Local student returns from Dominica safe after Maria

Local student returns from Dominica safe after Maria
Local student returns from Dominica safe after Maria
Posted at 6:05 PM, Sep 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-28 14:43:16-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Last week, WTXL told you about a Tallahassee woman studying in Dominica as a category five hurricane battered the Caribbean Island.

Casey Carlberg is safe back home in Tallahassee after a terrifying experience with Hurricane Maria. She shared some incredible pictures and stories of how she survived and reunited with her family.

For Casey Carlberg, the wrath of Maria was something she'll never forget.

"It jumped from a 3 to 5 within two hours in the middle of the night, and there was just nothing that you could prepare for," said Casey.

The Ross University student lived in a concrete apartment building. That's where she stayed with a generator and a closet full of supplies as Maria made landfall.

"The whole building would shake, almost kind of like an earthquake, and I was like, 'Don't collapse. Just don't collapse,'" Casey recounted.

She said water poured into her apartment. The wind, louder than she's ever heard.

"I could just hear the tin roof ripping off of the house next to me and just flying off and hitting things," said Casey.

This used to be the view from her apartment but this is what it looked like after Maria.

"You could start seeing things that you couldn't see before," said Casey.

The day after our report with her parents, she was able to call them.

"It was just such a relief, because the school can tell you your child is okay, but when you hear her voice..." said Robin Carlberg, Casey's mother.

"She sounded positive. She's like, 'We're going to do this, we're going to do this.' Because an experience like this will make you or break you," said David Carlberg, Casey's father.

Casey had to wait several days for a cruise ship to take her to St. Lucia, where she was able to catch a flight back to the U.S.

"I was trying not to cry when we were landing, and then, when I saw them, I just lost it," said Casey. "My dad came up -- because he saw me first -- and he gave me a huge hug, and we just stood for like 10 minutes just hugging each other."

Casey says she does plan to go back to Dominica to finish her education. She says the people there need help with the recovery.