During the early hours of October 25, Hurricane Otis made landfall in Acapulco Bay with winds reaching up to 165 mph. Amongst the chaos, sailor Ruben Torres managed to record a heartbreaking 10-second audio message from his yacht, the Sereno. The message conveyed his distress and urged his family to pray for him and his shipmates. Unfortunately, only one person survived from the Sereno, as Torres and the boat's captain remain missing.
The devastation caused by Hurricane Otis extends beyond the bay. At least 48 people have been officially reported dead, with 26 still missing. Many fear that the true number of casualties is much higher. Sailors and fishermen, who usually seek refuge on their boats during storms, found themselves ill-prepared for the sudden intensity of Otis. The storm escalated from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane within 12 hours, catching everyone off guard.
Families, like Susana Ramos, anxiously awaited news of their loved ones. Ramos received Torres' distressing message days after the hurricane struck. She embarked on a desperate search for her husband, navigating through the desolate and destroyed cityscape of Acapulco. The sight of damaged boats along the waterfront only added to her fears.
Surviving sailors recount a similar story of being caught unaware by the storm's rapid escalation. Despite attempts to seek shelter in what they believed to be protected areas of the bay, many found themselves trapped in a whirlpool-like current. The force of the storm resembled a "mega tornado" that consumed their boats.
Ramos, along with other families, continued their search for survivors, even resorting to using whatever seaworthy craft they could find. Frustrations grew as they felt that authorities were not doing enough to assist in the search and lacked the necessary equipment. The Navy has so far recovered 67 small boats, but more than 500 larger ones remain unaccounted for.
For Ramos, life now revolves around daily visits to the morgue, where DNA samples of her children have been taken. Perched by a window in her home, she anxiously waits for any sign of news about her husband. The devastation caused by Otis, including the loss of their rented grocery store, has left her hopeful yet uncertain about the future.
As families cling to hope and pray for miracles, they long for any news that could bring solace and closure. For now, the community of Acapulco comes together to support one another during this difficult time, hoping for any glimmer of good news amidst the devastation.