HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - An 85-year-old woman from the Bahamas is recovering at a South Florida hospital after, her family said, she survived Hurricane Dorian’s wrath floating in rising ocean waters for three days while holding onto a refrigerator.
Dramatic video captured the moment Virginia Mosvold was rescued from Freeport to be flown to South Florida for treatment. The story was first reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Sissel Johnson, Mosvold’s daughter, said her mother rode out the storm with her and her husband at their Grand Bahama farm, called Old Freetown Farm, a tourist destination with horses and hundreds of other animals.
Johnson said she and her husband prepared as best they could, but the tidal surge, between 20 and 30 feet high, suddenly came in and inundated their house.
“We went through just a terrible ordeal. The water just kept rising and rising, and we’re like, ‘We’re going to drown if we don’t try and get up in the attic,'” Johnson told the Sun-Sentinel.
Johnson said she and her husband were able to reach the attic.
“My husband, luckily, could reach the ceiling and started jumping and punching holes in the drywall and ripping it down so we could get up there,” she said to the Sun-Sentinel. “We threw the dogs up there, and he got me up there.”
Unfortunately, Johnson said, they were unable to lift Mosvold up there.
“We couldn’t lift my mom because she was too heavy, so when we were both in the attic, my husband ripped out some cable wires and made a little harness to put around her arms,” she told the Sun-Sentinel. “We put her on top of the bar on the kitchen counter, and she was still floating on water at that point.”
With the family now safe in South Florida, Johnson described what her mother endured for days after the Category 5 storm battered the island nation.
“By the next morning, in the daylight, she had taken the harness off and was floating in the water, holding onto the fridge,” she said to the Sun-Sentinel. “Thankfully, the fridge had wedged itself, so it couldn’t move, so it was floating, and she was holding onto that.”
Johnson said her mother continued to hold on to the refrigerator with only her head above water.
Once the storm passed, Mosvold’s family placed her in an armchair, but her condition worsened.
She now has a severe infection in her legs, fluid in her lungs and pneumonia.
Mosvold was airlifted to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, where she continues to recover.
Aerial video of Old Freetown Farm showed a complete loss.
“We lost our farm, we lost an employee. He drowned on our farm. He was unable to get out,” said Johnson. “We lost everything: our house, hundreds of animals. Right now, we’re just taking it day by day with my mom.”
She is said to be doing better and has reduced her antibiotics from four prescriptions to two.
“I don’t know, just by the grace of God that she survived,” said Johnson to the Sun-Sentinel.
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