First flight from Puerto Rico, post-Hurricane Maria, touches down in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. (WKMG) There were hugs and tears. A feeling of family lingered in the air. And there was a huge sense of relief for some relatives to see their mother, finally, after days of lost contact during and in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

“It’s too much emotion going on right now,” Suhaill Barbosa said. “It’s really hard. We still have family we can’t contact yet.”

Added Giselle Marrero, “It’s very devastating. It’s not easy. It cannot be explained by a picture. You have to be over there to see how Puerto Rico is right now.”

Spirit Airlines Flight 892 was supposed to arrive just after 5 p.m., but it was delayed by about three hours. This was the first incoming flight from Puerto Rico to Orlando after the storm. Many speculated that the flight got postponed due to the horrible conditions on the island.

“They got no power,” one passenger said Friday. “Trees have no leaves. There’s no gas.”

Bethzaida Garcia said she left Puerto Rico just days before Maria hit, and she felt guilty leaving her parents behind. On Friday night, she was finally about to hug her mother.

“I wish that everybody can feel the same thing, because I know my friends — everybody is waiting the same thing, to hug their parents,” Garcia said.

But not everyone has been able to learn if his or her family survived.

A woman holding up a Puerto Rican flag stood in front of the gate, hoping someone on the flight knew something about her 82-year-old mother.

“She (decided) to go to nowhere,” the woman said. “She decided to stay in the house. I’m here hoping someone come from the area I come, and let me know if they know her or if somebody
(knows) about her.”

Some passengers said they’ll be staying with family in Orlando until the situation in Puerto Rico improves.