MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexico’s government airlifted thousands of stranded foreign tourists out of the hurricane-ravaged resort of Los Cabos, as a weakened Odile headed over the Gulf of California Wednesday on a path toward the US state of Arizona.
The remnants of Odile, which has been downgraded from a Category 3 hurricane to a tropical storm, were expected to reach Arizona Wednesday evening and strike hardest in the Tucson area, though forecasters said Phoenix could get lashed with rain and heavy winds as well.
In Mexico, military and commercial planes were carrying travellers out through the Los Cabos international airport, which remained closed to commercial flights due to damage suffered when Odile tore through the area late Sunday and Monday.
Travelers were being flown free of charge to airports in Tijuana, Mazatlan, Guadalajara and Mexico City to catch connecting flights and, in the case of foreigners, receive consular assistance.
Fatai Oshi-Ojuri, a tourist from Oakland, California, who came to Mexico with his girlfriend to celebrate his 30th birthday, was among the first to get out on a Federal Police jet.
He said the airport in Los Cabos was a mess with roof panels and electrical wiring down, and signs and windows shattered.
“That was like a scene from ‘The Walking Dead,”’ he said by phone from Mazatlan, where he was waiting for an Alaska Airlines flight to Los Angeles.