Tourists return with tales of hurricane-ravaged Cabo San Lucas

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SAN DIEGO - A couple of hundred tourists who were stranded in Cabo San Lucas by Hurrican Odile arrived in San Diego Wednesday night on board Alaska Air flight 233.

One group chanted, "USA, USA!" as they left the airport

"It's a miracle. It's absolutely wonderful. Words cannot explain what it feels like to be back in the states again," Chicago residetn Kerry Ramos said. She was in Cabo for her honeymoon.

On Tuesday, the U.S. military, Mexican government and commercial airlines, including Alaska Air, began flying thousands of foreign tourists out of the storm-battered resort town.

For many, vacations and honeymoons were cut short after Hurricane Odile slammed into the Baja California peninsula.

Ramos and her husband, Erman, said they were forced to take shelter at their resort for three days.

"The shelter you're in is this big banquet hall. It had to be 110 degrees [in there]. Thankfully, Kerry's a nurse,and we had another doctor there. There was no serious casualties, [but] we had elderly, pregnant women, babies [who needed attention]," Erman Ramos said.

The couple said their hotel was wrecked in the Category 3 storm. They said many buildings were flattened and there was no running water or outside communication because power was down.

Another tourist, David Coe from Oregon, had been vacationing in Cabo with his wife for two days when Odile struck.

"It was scary. The scariest thing I've ever been in in my life," Coe said.

David John lives in Cabo with his wife and child. The power of the storm took him by surprise.

"It was kind of like an explosion went off in my apartment. My table flew at me. My sliding door flew at me. I spent three hours locked in the bathroom," John said.

Passengers said the widespread damage left local residents hungry and desperate, leading to an outbreak of looting.

"They wanted to go to the store and pay for items, but [the stores] weren't opening their doors. So obviously, after a few hours, people grew impatient and one thing led to another. But it was surprisingly non-violent," John said.

"I understand [why the locals were] looting and taking stuff out of stores. That's how bad it is ... You know what a refugee feels like. You know exactly what to have nothing feels like," Coe said.

More flights carrying tourists from Cabo San Lucas are expected to arrive Thursday in Los Angeles and San Diego.

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